A controversial botany professor has sparked outrage by claiming that women who wear jeans and shirts give birth to transgender children because they are dressing “like men”.
Dr Rajith Kumar, who lectures at the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in Kerala, India, made the comments during an “awareness” class for students, reported The Times of India.
“If mothers wear jeans and shirts and dress like men, they will beget children who are transgenders [sic],” Kumar told students
Kumar also claimed that children with autism and cerebral palsy “are born to parents who are not of good character.”
Now he’s facing legal action from the state government in Kerala. Kumar has “not withdrawn his controversial statements so far. The government is mulling initiating legal action against him,” said a statement from the Keralan Health Minister K K Shailaja.
“He has been propagating superstition and making anti-women remarks continuously,” she said.
A bill is currently working its way through the Indian parliament to give transgender people greater rights in society.
It follows a February 2014 ruling by India’s Supreme Court that transgender people had the right to self-identify their gender.
There are 4.8 million transgender people in India, reported The Hindu, citing census data. The total population of India is over 1.3 billion people, meaning transgender Indians account for around 0.4%.
However, the rights group Amnesty International described the transgender bill as “highly flawed.”
“The bill contains several problematic assumptions about the transgender persons, which shows that the government did not consult the transgender community on a law that would affect their lives,” said Amnesty.
“The Supreme Court has provided clear guidance for authorities to design policies and take steps to recognize transgender persons as equal citizens.”