India now has an out transgender college principal
Manabi Bandopadhyay has been appointed India’s first ever out transgender college principal.
She will next month take charge of the Krisnanagar Women’s College.
Her appointment is significant as transgender people are often stigmatised in Indian society.
“Of course I am excited, but the media attention has left me in a tizzy. I have been flooded with calls. I understand that my achievement is a big step forward for the transgender movement in the country, but my priority is my students.” she told the Indian Express.
Ms Bandopadhyay worked in a government college for eight years before transitioning, and said she often faced issues around “which washroom I should be allowed to use”.
Reflecting on being called derogatory terms for appearing as a feminine man before her transition, she said afterwards colleagues attempted to convince her to dress as a man.
“I have never really hankered for this post. But I have realised that if you are diligent in your work, people start respecting you no matter what kind of prejudices they harbour,” says Manabi, reflecting on issues changing.
“This decision was taken by the College Service Commission. I don’t interfere in their decisions. They are aware of our open mind. I am happy with this decision,” state education minister Partha Chatterjee commented to the Times of India.
Bandopadhyay is expected to take up the role on 8 June.
Earlier this year, for the first time, a transgender candidate won a mayoral election in the country.
Madhu Kinnar, an independent candidate, won the election in the Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh Municipal Corporation by 4357 votes on 4 January.