This Valentine Day will be special for transgenders.
For the first time, around 10 transgenders will write the Class 12 (intermediate) examinations of the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB), beginning February 14, using their identity. Similarly, around eight transgenders have applied for BSEB’s Class 10 (matriculation) examination from March 1 to 8.
Prior to this, the BSEB did not allow candidates to exercise third gender option. The candidates had to specify their gender either as male or female while filling up examination forms. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CSBE) has already allowed third gender option for examinees.
Around 12.61 lakh candidates will appear in the intermediate examinations and another 17.69 lakh in matriculation examination, taking the overall tally of BSEB examinees to over 30 lakh this year.
Though the number of transgenders taking the ensuing examinations is insignificant, it is a beginning in the right direction, said Reshma Prasad, secretary of Dostana Safar, an organisation of transgenders.
“We welcome the BSEB move. The government should commence residential schools for transgenders, just like it has for women and children. Merely allowing transgenders to express themselves on examination form should be the first and not the last initiative,” she added.
BSEB chairman Anand Kishor said, “We are trying to verify the number of transgenders who have applied for appearing in examinations. My office is calling them up individually to find out if they exercised the transgender option inadvertently. We want to give equal opportunity to all.”
“The transgenders will be allowed to take the examination along with others. We want to give equal opportunity to all,” Kishor added.
The number of examinees is more as compared to last year, when 27.58 lakh — 11.58 lakh intermediate and 16 lakh matriculation — students took the examination.
E-admit cards will be available on the BSEB website from Friday evening. “Schools can download e-admit cards of candidates, take their print-outs, and get signature of principal with office seal, before they are circulated among examinees,” said BSEB public relations officer Rajeev Dwivedi.
Of the nearly 40,000 transgenders in Bihar, 30% are students who have passed Class 8, said Prasad, quoting a 2012 UNDP report .