India Gets Its First Transgender College Principal


People belonging to the third gender do not usually get a warm welcome in India. That’s the main reason why the news of Manabi Bannerjee being the first transgender college principal is trending. 

Manabi has been appointed as the principal of the Krishnanagar Women’s College in West Bengal by the education panel that selects college principals in the state. The chairman of the selection panel said that Manabi has been teaching for more than 20 years and has adequate administrative experience. She was chosen through the usual selection process.

Manabi Bannerjee will take charge as the principal of Krishnanagar Women’s College from 9 June, 2015. Located in Krishnanagar, a town situated about 105 kilometers north of Kolkata, the college provides undergraduate courses in science and humanities.  The college authorities said that they were in search of a "strong personality to run the college smoothly.” Therefore, they consider Manabi as the right choice.

Manabi was born Somnath into a middle class family in Naihati. She underwent a sex-change operation in the year 2003.

Transgender activists in India are happy with the announcement. They mentioned that it was a proud day for the group that usually faces discrimination.

Rudrani Chettri, director of Mitr Trust, a group that works for transgender rights said, “This is a proud moment for us. It’s great that people have begun accepting transgenders. Everybody should feel proud about this decision,”

In 2014, Supreme Court of India had announced transgender as the legal third gender. The court had allotted minority rights and privileges to education, employment and health benefits to them. Since then, many colleges had been giving them a choice to fill in their gender in the application form.