A transgender student of Panjab University (PU), Dhananjay Chauhan, has been invited for dinner with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s who is on visit to India.
A student of Department of Human Rights and Duties, PU, Dhananjay (46) has been invited by the High Commissioner for Canada to India, Nadir Patel, to the dinner-reception on 22 February to celebrate Canada-India ties on the occasion of the visit of the PM.
After PU introduced the ‘third gender’ column in its admission form, Dhananjay was the first transgender student to take admission under the category. She has been working hard to alleviate the plight of transgenders and also a founder of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) Saksham Trust for the same.
The coordinator, Centre for Human Rights & Duties (U.I.E.A.S.S), Swarnjit Kaur, said that this, however, is not Dhananjay’s first achievement. “Dhanjay’s association with the Centre dates back to approximately two years prior to her admission to the Master’s programme in 2016.
At that time the students interacted with her as a president of Saksham Trust involved in rights of transgender community. After being on the rolls of the Centre, Dhananjay was invited to Netherlands in 2016 in the month of August to participate in an international meet on rights of transgender people,” she said.
Kaur said Dhananjay played frontal role in organising a Pride Walk in the University campus between March 18 and 26, 2017 and it resulted in inviting a number of prominent personalities to the PU including Consul General Canada, Christopher Gibbins.
She further informed that within University, request for separate toilets for transgender students and setting up of hostel facility were a few more initiatives undertaken by Dhananjay which has been well taken by the University Administration. “I wish the success story continues in times to come and rights of the transgender community are transformed into realty, she added.
Due to Dhananjay’s effort, PU authorities in 2016 allocated Rs 23 lakh for the construction of the four toilets for the transgender students. The first washroom for transgender students got operational in December 2017 and the remaining three washrooms are under construction.
PU is also considering inclusion of representative of transgender students in the PU Committee Against Sexual Harassment and hostels facilities to transgender students.