College lists three genders: ‘Male, female or gay’
A teacher training college in India has apologised after an official form listed gay people as a third gender separate from men and women.
The blunder was made by the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research, a teacher institute established by the Indian government’s Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The form was uploaded to the institute’s website, to be filled out by candidates seeking vacancies.
It attracted mockery over the ‘gender’ field, which listed three tick-box options, Male, Female or Gay.
According to the Times of India, a college rep seemed confused when contacted for comment.
They said: “What are transgenders? Aren’t they same as gays?”
However, director Professor Shyam Sunder Pattnaik told the Times of India that the issue was “a mistake in interpretation” and that he would “get it corrected immediately”.
The new form simply says “Gender (please specify)”.
Indians have had a concept of a third gender for many years, though not for gay people.
There are thousands of third-gender Indians, known as hijras.
Hijras, similar to the Western concept of transgender people, have historically lived in extreme deprivation.
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Many resort to sex work and HIV is rife among the community.
India’s Supreme Court issued a landmark verdict in 2014, creating a legal ‘third gender’ category that allows transgender people to identify themselves as such on official documents, and recognising them for the first time.
However, the country’s government raised several objections to the ruling.
It filed papers claiming that the ruling “may pose problems both practically and politically”, and added that it “seeks to create an ambiguity” regarding entitlement to benefits.
A recent census found nearly 490,000 people identified themselves as third gender – far higher than previous estimates.