Breaking barriers: India gets its first transgender Principal

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Kolkata, May 27: Kolkata would probably be the first in the world to boast of breaking the transgender dogma by appointing one of them as the Principal of a college. Manabi Bandhopadhyay has been asked to take charge of Krishnanagar women's college in West Bengal from June 9.

Currently, she is the associate professor of Bengali at Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya.


State education minister, Partha Chatterjee said,"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."

Certifying het strong personality and academic background was the Technical education minister Ujjal Biswas, who is also the chairman of the college governing body. He said,"We were in need of a principal with a strong personality to run the college smoothly."

Rattan Lal Hangloo, the vice-chancellor of Kalyani University to which Krishnagar Women's College is affiliated, said, "Manabi is a fine human being, a good academician and an able administrator. We are hopeful her appointment will empower other members of the transgender community."

While teachers and students are all happy and confident of her dedication to the post, Manabi still feels there is lot to overcome. "Even today parents think that this is a mental health issue. A few days back, a boy from Burdwan committed suicide when he couldn't stand the pressure from his parents, who wanted him to take psychiatric help because he was a transgender," she said.

She further added,"I have come across boys who don't have support from their parents and cannot get operated upon without their consent. They resort to birth control pills, hoping that the high estrogen will help them feel like women. But they don't realize that these pills will cause more harm than good."

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