Breaking stereotypes, this Tamil Nadu school admits trans teen

On December 18, 2020, Harini secured admission in Class 11 at Sri Sivananda Balalaya. She is the first gender non-conforming student, a trans teen, to stay in the residential school in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchy.

The hostel is the brainchild of Major General (retd) NRK Babu, correspondent of the school, the construction of which began in July 2019.

The construction was started in July 2019. “We have given the first admission to Harini. Her parents sent her away and this is exactly why we started this hostel, to ensure such children don’t drop out.We are expecting more children to join soon,” The New Indian Express quoted Babu as saying.

Harini, the first trans teen to be admitted to the Tamil Nadu school, is on her way to achieve her dreams.

Who is Harini?

When Hariharan, as Harini was named at birth, was 10 years old, she saw a group of transgenders being saved by a policeman from a violent mob. This incident made her realise that she too wanted to become a policeman when she grew up.

Harini was in class 5 when she realised changes in the body. She informed her family.

Upon realising that she was a transgender, her family was shocked and refused to accept her. They even abused Harini.

“I loved wearing my mother’s saree, mascara, lipstick and dance. I just loved myself and knew that this is me. My body started changing but my family didn’t notice it. It was only in the past two years that I realised I was a transgender. However, my family didn’t accept it. My elder brother and other family members used to torture me. I was forced to dress like a boy,” said Harini.

When Harini could not bear the abuse anymore, she moved in with a confidante, Angel, a transgender who lived nearby. Anger gave Harini a comfortable life, and education. Harini consequently secured admission in the school in question.

“I wasn’t able to study beyond class 9. My family threw me out. We had to beg. When Harini came to me, I resolved I wouldn’t let her life become like mine.  Through some people I came to know about Sivananda Balalaya and contacted Babu sir,” said Angel.

Harini aspires to become an SI and wishes to get her gender reassignment surgery done when she turns 18 years old.

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