DNA | Saturday, 21 November 2015 | DNA Web Team |
The story of Grace Banu is nothing short of inspirational. Banu happens to be Tamil Nadu’s first transgender student to have bagged an engineering seat in the state’s premier college. She had filed a petition in the Madras High Court to demand that Tamil Nadu State Public Commission allow transgender persons to appear for the entrance exam. The petition was just one of Banu’s fights for transgender rights. She had to face and fight discrimination several times in her life. After she came out as a transgender in 2008, she was disowned by her family but was embraced by the transgender community. She even finished her education in Computer Sciences and secured a job in a software company Chennai in 2011. However, Banu had to quit working after she faced discrimination at her workplace. But that did not stop her. She began afresh and pursued an engineering course. She passed the entrance exam for the college but could not take admission being a transgender applicant. She finally got admitted to a private college, Sri Krishna College in Arrokonam. She is now a third-year student of the college’s Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) department. Banu has overcome many a hurdles to come so far and become a beacon of hope for not just the third gender, but everyone who faces systemic discrimination.
Despite having come so far, she is now facing financial hurdles and is finding it difficult to continue her education. She has spent her savings and Rs 70,000 that she borrowed from friends, says a News Minute report. But she needs money for her university exam fees and for food, travel and rent. “I do not have money to survive for the next one and a half years of my college. I would like to get a monthly stipend to cover my expenses. My family does not support me any manner. I can’t lead a life of dignity without raising some money,” she told the publication. While her friends and supporters are pitching in, Banu still needs a helping hand to complete her education. Sinthu Govindaswamy, a business consultant, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Banu. Banu has campaigned for making the society more inclusive. Will people now rally in her hour of need?- Courtesy