Ten twin-sharing rooms will be allotted on a first-cum-first-serve basis in the next academic year
Mumbai: The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) will soon have a hostel for transgender and gender non-conforming students. Students were informed through a notification on Thursday that the ground floor of hostel no 4, will now be allocated to self-identified transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons.
Ten twin-sharing rooms will be allotted on a first-cum-first-serve basis in this hostel, and will be made available for students during the 2018-19 academic year. Dean of Students Affairs, Prof. P.K. Shahjahan, said the move is another step in the institute’s efforts towards inclusion. “We have been trying to achieve this for some time. The gender amity committee and student representatives have decided to create this space. This will be done on an experimental basis for one year, and we will take stock next year.”
Sai Tejo, an M.A. student, said the move was long overdue. “This is a product of several discussions and deliberations. There will be several more discussions as the hostel becomes operational.” The student general body had passed a resolution to create gender-neutral hostels and washrooms in September 2017. Christopher Nag, an M.Phil student and part of the TISS Queer Collective, was thrilled, but said a lot of work remained to be done.
“When we first saw the notification we couldn’t believe it. We are waiting for clarity on the rules and regulations. We don’t want this to turn into another gendered space. Our struggle is for a gender-neutral space and not for a space for a third gender,” Nag said, preferring not to be identified with a gender-specific honorific.
The TISS Queer Collective has been at the forefront of implementing this initiative. Nag said the rules that govern boys’ and girls’ hostels cannot be applied to the new space and more clarity will emerge once the hostel starts functiong.
In February, the institute added the honorific ‘Mx’ to the existing list of Mr., Ms., Mrs. and Dr. on forms that students had to fill out before their convocation.