The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued notice to the Director of the National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) on a complaint by the Legal Rights Observatory regarding the new training manual for teachers containing a chapter titled "Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Road Map".
The new training material has been released by the Department of Gender Studies at the NCERT.
The document contains controversial suggestions hinting at discouraging children from using toilets meant for their gender and suggests teachers talk to young children about the use of "puberty blockers (hormones) that delay certain development of the body".
Puberty blockers are medications that suppress puberty by suppressing the body's release of sex hormones.
Regarding toilets, the document says, "The use of toilet, an infrastructural facility, is used to condition children into binary gender; female children are conditioned to use the toilets labeled 'girls' and male children are to use the toilet marked for 'boys'."
Legal Right Observatory, a legal advocacy group, had filed a complaint before the NCPCR stating that the move on the part of the NCERT is will traumatize children and infringe upon their freedom.
The notice of the NCPCR seeks rectification of anomalies in the new document. The notice lists the issues highlighted in the complaint as follows:-
"i) The text of the manual suggests gender-neutral infrastructure for children that does not commensurate with their gender realities and basic needs. Also, the idea of creating removing binaries shall deny them equal rights of children of diverse biological needs.
ii) Second, this approach will expose children to unnecessary psychological trauma due to contradictory environments at home and in school.
iii) It is also highlighted in the manual (chapter 3) that teachers are suggested to discuss with students about the puberty blockers and its availability for adolescents.
iv) Further, the background and qualification of the members of the drafting committee was not verified."
Interestingly, the NCPCR has demanded verification of the antecedents of the members of the drafting committee.
There was an uproar on social media over the inclusion of Vikramaditya Sahai from the Centre for Law and Policy as an External Team Member of the NCERT team behind the new publication. The individual who is a transperson had in past posted sexually explicit photos of self on social media.
The NCPCR has sought a report on the action taken, within seven days.