Indian trans teacher ‘asked if her breasts were real during job interview’

A transgender teacher was ridiculed on several occasions during job interviews and asked whether her “breasts were real.”

Suchitra Dey, a transgender woman working as a teacher in Kolkata, spoke out about the humiliation and abuse she encountered when looking for a job after she underwent gender-confirming surgery.

Dey has a double masters in Geography and English and a bachelor of education degree. Yet, during an interview with one of Kolkata’s top schools, she claims she was questioned on anything but her qualifications

One principal even asked her whether her “breasts were real” and whether she could bear children, Dey said.

“Would these questions be asked if I wasn’t a transgender woman?”  she told the Indian Express.

“One of the interviewers at a well-known Kolkata school asked me to wear male outfits because all my mark sheets and certificates say that I am a man. In each of these interviews, I faced the worst kind of humiliation.”

“When they looked at me, all they could see was a man who had transformed into a woman,” she added. “Nothing else mattered because if one belongs to the third gender in this country, ridicule is a way of life.”

Dey filed a complaint with West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) on June 11.

“The things I have been asked by authorities at ‘reputed’ schools of Kolkata shows the kind of mindset people still hold about our community,” the complaint read.

Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community take part in the ‘Ahmedabad Queer Pride 2018’ parade in Ahmedabad on February 18, 2018. SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty

“If someone like me, who is educated and experienced, has to face this then imagine the plight of those who don’t have the opportunity to go to school, or the ones who have been ostracised.”

The school where Dey used to work before receiving the surgery were OK with her being transgender every step of the way.

Indian officially recognised transgender as a third gender in 2014.

However, many transgender people in the country suffer extreme abuse due to their identity. Many are shunned by their communities, abused or discriminated against for being trans.

In 2017, a Human Rights Watch report pointed out that a draft of India’s Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill left a lot to be desired.

Dey filed a complaint with the West Bengal Human Rights Commission – Suchitra Dey / Facebook

For instance, the draft law failed to protect transgender people from rape and sexual assault.

The HRW’s report also noted that the very definition of transgender in the draft was problematic. They labelled it as “unscientific and primitive,” and one which “completely misunderstands trans identities” and severely restricts [transgender people’s] right to self-identify.”