Monday, February 21, 2011

Marked as males till last year, this transgender family to be finally counted in Census 2011

Fazilka, Sukhdeep Kaur

Once lecturer now spiritual guru, Puneet Mahant did it all for right to dignity

Ten years ago, Census 2001 had marked them as males. Again last year, this husband and wife were asked to fill in the forms as males during a survey for Punjab government jobs. Now, Census 2011, for the first time, has given Puneet Mahant and Poonam Mahant the right to mark their identity as what they are — transgenders. But this family's fight for right to dignity started many years before, through education.

Puneet was in Class XII when he realised that he was not like the 'others'. "I had no idea that I was a transgender as my mother, a transgender herself, never made me dance or sing at weddings; there was no clapping at home and she just told me to earn respect through education," says 34-year-old Puneet, who went on to complete his Master's in English and did a BEd and MPhil to become a guest lecturer at the Government College, Fazilka.

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