The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) was established in 1998 as a State University in Hyderabad, Telangana with a motive of creating an ethical legal culture, which protects and promotes the rule of law. NALSAR University of Law is one of the top law schools of the Country. NALSAR has become first institution in the Country to award one of its students a gender-neutral graduate degree.
Last year Supreme Court acknowledged transgenders as the ‘third gender’ and following the transition, likes of Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Bangalore University allowed the students to opt the transgender category while filling the admission forms. However the award of a degree with such pronoun has been done for the first time probably.
Convenor of the Academics and Examinations Committee, NALSAR Prof. Amita Dhanda commented: “We as a university of law, under a progressive vice chancellor, interpret rules in harmony with social and scientific understanding. It is due to this perspective that the request of the student was accepted by the exam department as a matter of fact everyday decision. Our progressive approach has helped us take this small step to recognize gender fluidity and self identification.”
Anindita Mukherjee, the student who requested the University to issue the graduation degree with the gender-neutral honorific ‘Mx’ dropping the gender based pronouns ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’, ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’.
Anindita Mukherjee said in an interview; “Mx. is an honorific that does not disclose the gender of the person it is used for. Those who do not gender identify, or those who do not wish their gender to be discernible from the way in which they are addressed prefer to use it.
I asked the NALSAR administration to use Mx. because I did not see any reason why my transcripts or academic records needed to carry markers of my gender identity, especially given that I am still uncertain as to how I wish to identify.
I felt that there was no reason why my transcript needed to mention my gender. Besides, law universities are the spaces where we are constantly discussing justice, rights and identity, so I wanted to see if the university would walk the talk on that point.”