Malappuram: Riya Isha, the first transgender student at a college in Malappuram district, joined there almost 10 days ago. She (as her teachers address) received a warm welcome as a first-year BA economics student at the age of 30. Riya's entry itself was historic, and the college believed that she should get the 'privilege' for choosing education, instead of shying away from public gaze.
The classes had started in July itself, however, Riya received admission a bit late. At the time of admission itself, the authorities expressed their willingness to arrange separate toilet facilities. On September 24, they fulfilled their promise and handed over the key of the transgender-friendly toilet to Riya.
“When we informed in the beginning that the college is ready to provide separate toilet facilities, Riya said she would manage with the common toilet. We decided to keep the separate facility for future too. Let this be a beginning for a change in perspective,” said economics department head L Suprabha, expressing her joy at addressing Riya as 'she'.
“She prefers to be addressed in the woman gender, so we stuck to calling her as 'she'. Though other colleges in Kerala also started accepting transgender students on their campuses, I think our college was the first to set up a separate toilet facility for them,” Suprabha added.
Riya is actively involved in the co-curricular activities on the campus also, her teacher added. She was a special speaker at a forum organised by National Service Scheme at the college last week, Suprabha said.