Bengaluru: In an unprecedented event, 42 transgender persons have applied as candidates for the combined competitive (preliminary) examination (CCE), 2020, conducted by Assam Public Service Commission (APSC), reports Hindustan Times. 

It was indeed a surprise for the body as it had least expected it. But a surprise was indeed a pleasant one! 

“Initially we had not made a separate category for transgender persons when we issued notification for the exam in September. We were soon approached by a prominent transgender activist Swati Bidhan Baruah to include a separate category,” said APSC chairman Pallab Bhattacharya, as quoted by the website. 

“We had a discussion with Baruah and also checked with UPSC where transgender persons are already allowed to apply in a separate category called other. The state government was apprised of the matter and a separate category was created,” he added.

On the total number of applications received, he said, “The total application forms submitted till October 25 was 75,988. Of that 42 applicants had applied in the transgender category. The date for the exam has not been fixed, but it will most likely be held towards the end of December.”

An elated transgender activist Swati Bidhan Baruah said, “The move to include transgenders in a separate category is a welcome step and Assam is the first state in India to do so. Despite the 2014 SC order and a similar order from Gauhati HC in 2018, we were not given a separate category. That’s why I approached APSC,” as quoted by the website. 

Furthermore, she said, “It’s a big thing that 42 persons have applied in the new category as we know that they are a marginalized community and don’t get opportunities to pursue higher education. We need a committee to formulate the SOPs so that fake transgenders are not able to apply in the new category.”