India removes critical Teacher-Training Manual On Transgender-Inclusive School Education From Website

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Of the 2 million students taking their high school finals in India, only 25 are transgender.

2,097,128 Indian sophomore students registered for end-of-year exams, called class X exams, and 112,896 for the senior exams, called class XII in India.

The 2011 census, the first that included a category for Male, Female, and Other, found that there should be approximately 54,854 transgender children attending school this year.

According to the wire.in., only 19 and six transgender students registered respectively for class X and class XII exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in 2020.

The 2011 Census also revealed that cisgender males had the highest literacy rate of 54%. Cisgender women had the lowest literacy rate at 25.5% and "others" (a broad swath of gender nonbinary people) was found to be at 34%.

Recognising the urgency to address gender disparities in education, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in Delhi released a new publication titled Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap. It was available for anyone to download freely from the NCERT website. The project was coordinated by Dr Poonam Agrawal, Professor and former Head, Department of Gender Studies, NCERT.

The training material explained 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, according to First Post.

Dr Agrawal said, “The inclusion of all children is part of our mandate as an institution, so we decided to prepare training material that would sensitise teachers and teacher educators about the lived experiences, achievements, struggles, and aspirations of transgender and gender-nonconforming children. To make this happen, it was important to partner with people who belong to these communities, and are in close contact with grassroot-level realities.”

A complaint from Sanjay Vinayak Joshi, a prominent right-wing Hindu nationalist alledged that that the manual was a “criminal conspiracy...to psychologically traumatise school students under the name of gender sensitisation”. This spawned multiple vitriolic social media comments which combined resulted in the removal of the all-important teachers manual.

As a result of the complaint, the open letter claims, two of the three senior-most faculty members from the NCERT’s Department of Gender Studies who helped design the first-of-its-kind manual were transferred to other departments.

Over 700 LGBT groups, teachers, and individuals have signed an open letter decrying the removal of the manual and in support of those who were transferred from positions of leadership following its publication.

The manual, titled ‘Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap’, was produced by a group involving Poonam Agrawal, professor and former Head of the NCERT’s Department of Gender Studies; Mona Yadav, professor and Head of the Department of Gender Studies; Mily Roy Anand, Professor in the Department of Gender Studies of the NCERT; Rajesh, who is a professor in the Department of Adult and Continuing Education and Extension at the University of Delhi; L. Ramakrishnan, Vice-President of Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII); Bittu Rajaraman-Kondaiah, Associate Professor of Biology and Psychology at Ashoka University; Manvi Arora, independent researcher; Priya Babu, Managing Trustee at Transgender Resource Centre, Madurai; Vikramaditya Sahai, Associate at the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR), Bengaluru; Astha Priyadarshini, Junior Project Fellow; and Pawan Kumar, Desktop Publishing operator.

The document is the outcome of the NCERT’s engagement with gender and sexuality-related questions following the Supreme Court’s NALSA judgment in 2014. The manual, formulated by the Department of Gender Studies of the NCERT, was meant to sensitize teachers and teacher educators to the needs of transgender or gender non-conforming students in schools, focusing on helping them integrate so as to improve their access to education.


Dave Chappelle tells students "I'm better than all of you" during surprise visit to his old high school


Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle / Instagram

A NOT-SO WELCOME HOMECOMING — DAVE CHAPPELLE made a surprise stop by D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts on Tuesday in the latest chapter of the running saga with his alma mater.

A NOT-SO WELCOME HOMECOMING — DAVE CHAPPELLE made a surprise stop by D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts on Tuesday in the latest chapter of the running saga with his alma mater, as retold by Politico Playbook

But if the self-proclaimed GOAT hoped to smooth things over amid the backlash over his jokes about transgender people, he was in for a surprise of his own.

Some 580 students packed into an auditorium to hear their school’s most famous alumnus discuss the uproar triggered by his Netflix special “The Closer.” With a camera crew in tow, Chappelle took the stage to a raucous reception of cheers and some boos — and the hourlong session went south from there, we’re told.

During a Q&A session, one student stepped to the mic and called Chappelle a “bigot,” adding, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child,” according to two students present. The comments were confirmed by Chappelle’s spokesperson CARLA SIMS.

NO APOLOGIES: Chappelle responded, as recalled the next day by the students, “My friend, with all due respect, I don’t believe you could make one of the decisions I have to make on a given day.” That peeved some students who were hoping for an apology or some semblance of one from Chappelle.

In response to another antagonistic question, Chappelle roughly told the student body of artists: “I’m better than every instrumentalist, artist, no matter what art you do in this school, right now, I’m better than all of you. I’m sure that will change. I’m sure you’ll be household names soon.”

The students recalled that another student in the audience shouted at him, “Your comedy kills,” and Chappelle shot back, “N------ are killed every day.” He then asked, “The media’s not here, right?”

ONE DISTURBED PARENT: The two students we spoke to declined to go on the record out of fear of retribution from the school. The father of one of the students, who also declined to speak publicly to protect the identity of his daughter, said, “As a parent, I have to say I have a real problem. … He was being dead serious and using the n-word on the record. What kind of judgment is the school showing to allow that?”

Sims, the Chappelle spokesperson, responded: “They are complaining that he talked and said the n-word. If anything, Dave is putting the school on the map.” Chappelle has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Duke Ellington and brought A-list celebrities such as BRADLEY COOPER and CHRIS TUCKER to its campus.

The two students who spoke to Playbook said they were afraid to speak up at the assembly because Chappelle often laughed at students’ questions or responded with jokes. At one point, after a student left the assembly room, Chappelle singled her out by saying, “Of course she left early.”

Sims said that person “couldn’t even entertain the idea of a conversation.”

Some students were equally put off by Chappelle.

“He could tell we were nervous,” said one of the students we spoke with. “It was a huge power imbalance of this grown man and his camera crew — and these 14- to 18 year-olds without their phones, just high school kids.” Students had to lock their phones in special pouches beforehand to prevent recordings.

A spokesperson for the school said that about eight students came forward to ask questions.

“During the conversation with students and staff, Chappelle specifically invited the voices of discontent to ask questions, however as a result, the supporters of Chappelle became the silent majority,” said Duke Ellington spokesperson SAVANNAH OVERTON.

“Our principal was approached by several students after the assembly who were disappointed that they were not able to voice their support for Chappelle in this forum.”

NO HARD FEELINGS: According to the students, Chappelle seemed to soften up as he wound down. Turning to the camera, he spoke out against death threats some students have received since protesting him. The school has responded by increasing security and barring students from leaving campus for lunch.

“His whole tone changed,” one of the students said. “He said, ‘This is my family and whether they know it or not I love these kids. … I don’t want to hear about any threats to these kids. These kids don’t deserve that.’”

“He was really kind,” the student added. “If [only] he [had] acted that way the whole time. … There was no reason to be mean to us. He was just laughing at kids.”

A PARTING GIFT: Sims said Chappelle was expecting forgiveness from students, not to offer an apology of his own. The school postponed an event to name its theater after him amid concern about student reactions to his special.

“He said these kids deserve an F for forgiveness,” Sims said. But, “Give them some space to grow. They are going to say things that are immature.”

On his way out, Chappelle gave three tickets to each of the students for the screening of his documentary “Untitled” at Capital One Arena that night and 600 Thanksgiving meals for students and staff.

Correction: This item has been updated to reflect new information regarding the status of an event for Duke Ellington with Chappelle to raise money and rename the school’s theater.