Urging the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to reinstate the manual on transgender and non-binary children, a parent and a retired college professor, Nilakshi Rao started the petition at change.org. Started on the weekend, the petition has received over 9000 signatures by Friday.
A section of parents is asking the NCERT to reinstate their chapter on gender in their training manual. Earlier this month, NCERT had released a training manual to sensitise teachers and administrators towards transgender children in schools. The manual, however, was taken down by the NCERT.
Now, parents have started the petition to put it back and make schools inclusive."It is rightful to include the chapter in the NCERT training manual so that the country with an average age of 24 can at least make up for the lost time and rise to the occasion as well-informed citizens. I strongly suggest that the training material be retained and used effectively in the wonderful classrooms of our young country and its responsible future adult citizens."
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“The youngsters in schools today are beneficiaries of a new judicial reinterpretation of an archaic law that implies freedom from the criminalisation of certain people. The Supreme Court has freed the LGBTQIA community from allegations of criminality and is making so many reforms to support their stance henceforth," said the petitioner who also is a parent.
“If the children and schoolteachers continue to not see these people for who they are, or to allow disrespect, support bullying, lack of privacy, all because they are all equally misinformed about them, they are actually holding the Supreme Court in contempt. It is the duty of every citizen, and institutions, especially schools, to uphold the law of the land and support suitable reforms," it read
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In her petition, Nilakshi also congratulated the NCERT for “sensitising teachers to the fact that some children could be non-binary”. She adds, “it only suggests love and compassion for children who seem or are different in some respect.”
“By the same token sensitising school administrators should also be done. In fact, it would help establish School Policies strictly against bullying or any form of abuse for any visibly diverse child," read the petition.
The “Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap" manual was an attempt to educate and sensitise schools about the LGBTQ+ community and different gender orientations. While making suggestions, of having gender-neutral toilets and uniforms in schools, the manual also explained terms like cisgender, agender, and gender-fluid, among others. It also featured practices and strategies for teachers to make schools more inclusive for transgender and non-binary children.
NCERT removed the manual following a complaint by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and social media backlash from some right-wing groups.
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