The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) released a new training manual for teachers recently. The document titled ‘Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap’ was published by the Department of Gender Studies at NCERT.
The training material explains concepts such as gender identity, gender incongruence, gender dysphoria, gender affirmation, gender expression, gender conformity, gender variance, heterosexuality, homosexuality, asexuality, bisexuality, transnegativity, among various others, through a detailed glossary.
It also provides definitions of terms that people use to identify themselves; some of these are gender fluid, agender, transfeminine, and transmasculine.
The objective of the training manual is the “sensitization of teachers and teacher educators regarding aspects of gender diversity keeping gender-nonconforming and transgender children at centre stage.”
Further on, the training material lists out a number of practical strategies for making schools sensitive and inclusive for transgender and gender non-conforming children. These strategies include provision of gender-neutral toilets and uniforms, sensitisation on non-teaching staff, discontinuing practices that segregate children into various school activities based on their gender, creation of support groups in schools, inviting transgender speakers on campus etc.
In a section of the document that discusses issues related to infrastructure, it says that toilets are used to brainwash children into believing that there are only two sexes, men and women. The document says, “The use of toilet , an infrastructural facility, is used to condition children into binary gender; female children are conditioned to use the toilets labeled ‘girls’ and male children are to use the toilet marked for ‘boys’".
The training material contains a section titled 'Success Stories of Transgender Persons to Serve as Role Models.' It features engineer Grace Banu, bodybuilder Aryan Pasha, dancer Narthaki Nataraj, community researcher Santa Khurai, university professor Manobi Bandyopadhyay, medical doctor and professor Dr Aqsa Shaikh, news anchor Padmini Prakash, human resource professional Siddhant More, and Vihaan Peethambar, who serves as an Expert Committee Member in the National Council for Transgender Persons.
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