Queer student alleges discrimination at TISS event over attire

“Felt violated and humiliated; my right and my freedom were curbed,” says students’ union president; professor says matter will be probed

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Pratik Permey says they felt discriminated against because of their queerness | Representational image

The students’ union president of Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), who identifies as queer, has claimed discrimination at a campus event over their attire.

A TISS professor said the matter would be investigated.

The alleged incident took place on March 25, when a speech was organised on “Ambedkar, Nationalism, And the Need for Contemporary Collaborative Activism”.

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In a social media post, TISS students’ union president Pratik Permey said, “I was invited to the Ambedkar Memorial Lecture as a representative of the students’ union, to welcome the guests and do some formalities. When I reached the venue, around 6 pm I showed up in the usual dress. It was a blouse and a skirt.”

“Not allowed because of queerness”

Permey claimed that around 7 pm, a professor and a few members of the organising committee said, “For an event like this, you cannot wear something like that.”

“Even if the institute wants to curb what students wear, it is not fine,” said Permey. “Apart from being an indigenous and tribal person, I am also a queer. I also felt that … I was not allowed to (represent the institute) because of my queerness,” Permey added.

Permey said, “I really felt violated and humiliated. My right and my freedom were curbed.”

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A TISS professor said theirs is perhaps the only institution in the country with a gender-neutral hostel. “TISS is known for its inclusive nature with all supportive mechanisms in place for students of all genders and identities to co-exist,” said the professor.

“If there has been any incident where any student felt discriminated against, we will look into the matter. All students are assured of an inclusive atmosphere on the campus,” said the professor.

(With agency inputs)