New Delhi: The National Council for Transgender Persons has recommended to the Modi government that proposed revisions in NCERT textbooks to bring sensitivity to the requirements of transgenders be completed expeditiously, while also suggesting alterations in the medical curriculum to produce sensitised and well-equipped practitioners.
The recommendations, accessed by ThePrint, come amid a row over a National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) manual that was aimed at sensitising teachers and administrators towards transgender children in schools.
Released earlier this month, the manual explained terms such as cisgender, agender, and gender-fluid, among others, and made suggestions like having gender-neutral toilets and uniforms, and mixed rows of boys and girls in classrooms.
It was, however, pulled down from the official website of the council after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) raised objections. The arguments made included the recommendations not being “commensurate with their (the children’s) gender realities and basic needs”.
According to a senior government official, the National Council for Transgender Persons, which falls under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, made its recommendations after a meeting on 10 November.
The council, sources in the government said, was informed that a group of experts has been creating new content for Class 11 but it has not been finalised so far.
“The revision in the NCERT textbooks to bring sensitivity to the requirements of transgenders shall be completed expeditiously. The existing medical curriculum may also require revision on the issues faced by the transgenders,” the council has said.
The senior government official said “doctors at times don’t even understand the problems transgender persons face”.
“There have to be some changes in the curriculum to sensitise them. If this starts at the level of curriculum itself, it will have a far-reaching effect,” the official added.
‘Sex reassignment surgeries should be done by trained doctors’
The council for transgender persons has also pointed out that there is a “need to prevent sex reassignment surgeries (SRS) by doctors who are not trained or well-equipped”.
SRS refers to a set of surgical procedures by which a transgender person’s genital organs are altered to give them bodies they feel more comfortable in.
“There are many cases of such operations resulting in casualties,” the council has told the government.
In addition to this, the council members pointed out that there needs to be an orientation programme and, based on this, specialists should be identified in every state and only these people allowed to perform SRS.
“There is a need for medical insurance covering the medical requirements as per the global standards. The training programme resulting in creating jobs should become the top priority of the ‘Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE)’ scheme,” said a second senior official while explaining what the council has recommended.
SMILE is a government initiative meant for the empowerment of marginalised communities that was launched earlier this year.
“The community-based organisations, voluntary organisations and industries that are undertaking the training and placement for transgenders should be separately identified and provided opportunities to participate in the training programmes,” the government official added.
The council has also recommended that the “avenue should be explored for CSR participation in the transgender welfare programme”.
“The existing helpline for transgender may be strengthened into a transland national support system along with the facility of counsellors. A separate vertical should be opened in NBCFDC (National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation) for funding the livelihoods of transgender persons,” the council added.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)