By Rohan Susha Mathews
Madras Christian College will always be a campus in my memories for both horrible and good reasons. When I joined the campus in 2015 I was still getting comfortable in my gender fluid effeminate skin.
The fear of ostracism had always haunted me for a very long time and my worst fears came true on this campus which is quite infamous for its ragging named traditions and queerphobic nature.
Primarily the problems began with ‘chānthùpottù’ (name of a popular malayālam movie which shames femininity) and ‘pennācchi’ (something really close to the Hindi word chakka) type of uncouth slurs in Malayalam which is crudely detrimental to effeminacy. Along with this losing my mother just added on to all the emotional and mental strain.
Why formal complaints don’t often help the case
Verbal abuse on one side and physical abuse by these bullies was something that was never resolved even when a formal complaint was made to the authorities.
Their callous attitude of laughing at the complainant was even worse. You could almost hear them murmur, “can’t blame them, after all he does behave like an aravani.”
I’m not the first such case and I’ll never be the last one as well. Such transphobia and queerphobia is not at all unheard of on campus spaces which are rigorously buried in cisheteropatriarchal, hypermasculine, casteist, ableist, classist, dogmas.
What could be done instead?
We are in dire needs of queer friendly student protection cells and services on each campus with equal representations from each sect of the community and trained counsellors.
The representation must come equally from all across the spectrum. We can no longer have “allies” and cishetero men and women decide what’s right and what’s wrong for the community.
There needs to be a proper fund pool maintained by each campus to help students facing a hard time at home and looking for an escape. There needs to be a certain amount of fund allocated by the UGC to fuel the activities of such protection cells.
Most importantly we need people to be educated about what sex, gender and sexuality is. Starting from awareness on all levels and then tailored for each section existing at the campus.
From sweepers and mess workers to the principal and management, there needs to be regular dialogues to analyse and understand the troubles of a queer person.
Educating students and professors on campus is extremely crucial, so as to enable them to treat, talk and approach the community with sensitivity.
Enforce punishments for the offenders and those who try to make a mockery.
Stringent punishments need to be put in place to curb bullying. Especially cyber bullying.
Most importantly allies and everybody else needs to keep track on each student carefully and intricately to at least try and reduce suicidal tendencies. Keeping networks alive and a casual enquiry does half the work.
Image Credits: Google Images