From being Hiranmay Dey to Suchitra — the journey of this Kolkata-based school teacher had been fraught with its usual share of challenges until, as many would presume, she underwent a Sex-Reassignment Surgery (SRS) in 2017 and became a trans-woman. But her real battle seems to have only just begun.
A talented and popular teacher who, like many others in her fraternity, is also ambitious and wants to make a successful career, Suchitra’s dreams have hit a roadblock after her recent interviews at some private schools turned out be a nightmare.
“I have done double MA in Geography and English and hold a B.Ed degree. Unfortunately, wherever I have appeared for interviews, my prospective employers asked uncomfortable questions such as why am I like this and why I decided to undergo SRS. They hardly ask any questions about my professional abilities and are more interested in my sex change.” – she said
“In one of interviews at a reputed school, I was shocked when the interviewer asked me whether I can breast feed, whether I can be pregnant and whether or not my breasts are real. I was very offended. Thankfully in the present school where I teach, the staff is very accommodating. I have always felt like a part of their family,” Suchitra narrated.
Faced with humiliation, Suchitra has now shot a complaint letter to the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), seeking its intervention in the matter.
“I was discriminated at every step for being a trans-woman. Despite the verdict of the apex court, many private schools are still denying me jobs as schoolteacher. I have enough qualifications and 10 years of experience in teaching. During interviews, panel members mock me. They enquired about my genital status. It makes me feel that transgender persons have no scope of career growth. Mindset of educated people has not changed yet. So they are gender biased. I hope you will take necessary disciplinary action against such discrimination and do the needful,” Suchitra’s letter to WBHRC reads.
“If required, I will take legal action,” she added.
In 2014, the Supreme Court had formally recognized transgenders by creating the ‘third gender’ category.
Ranjita, a key member of the newly formed Transgender Development Board in West Bengal, said, “Suchitra is extremely talented but the way she was humiliated was unfortunate. I suggested her to take legal steps. We will discuss the matter soon and decide our next course of action.”
However, principals of some of the schools, who have been named in Suchitra’s complaint, have vehemently denied harassing her in any manner and even denied that any such interview took place at all.