First Official 'Gender Neutral' Lawyer in India
NEW DELHI: The process of smoothing out the remaining few edges in the battle for transgenders’ identity in academia carries on with yet another triumphal win, this time at NALSAR Law University in Hyderabad. It happened when a recent graduate from the University Anandita Mukherjee , a transgender, refused to be referred to as the standard Ms. and asked the authorities to change the honorific title on her Provisional Certificate to a ‘gender-neutral’ ‘Mx’.
"The university sent us our provisional transcripts and asked us to email back within a week with any corrections we might want in it. I responded with a request for the honorific to be corrected," Mukherjee told PTI.
"I felt that there was no reason why my transcript needed to mention my gender. Besides, law universities are the spaces where we are constantly discussing justice, rights and identity, so I wanted to see if the university would walk the talk on that point.
"Mx being a gender-neutral honorific that has been gaining traction, I asked if my transcript could refer to me as 'Mx’.”
According to ‘they’ – the choice of pronoun for Mukherjee, instead of ‘she’ or ‘her’- the University obliged to amend the title without any fuss.
NALSAR Convener of the Academics and Examinations committee, Amita Dhanda said, "We as an institution have also not taken a policy decision yet but we found nothing objectionable in the student's request. In the near future, the university will also be exploring formulation or implementation of such a policy".
"Being a university of Law we definitely advocate what is legal but this case was treated as a matter of fact and we came up with this 'creatively interpreted decision' maintaining harmony with both social and scientific understanding. This is a small step to recognize both gender fluidity and self identification," she added.
The thorny issue of acceptance for transgenders in academic institutions had been set to rest by Supreme Court last year, when it ruled that transgenders be acknowledged as ‘third genders’. The decision opened the gates of many universities for the hitherto ignored community; among them were Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamiya, and Bangalore University.