Transgender people are individuals of any age or sex whose appearance, personal characteristics, or behaviors differ from stereotypes about how men and women are ‘supposed’ to be.
The Supreme Court gave a landmark judgment granting India’s transgender community the right to be recognised as a third gender category and ruled that it was every human being’s right to choose one’s own gender.
(i) Historical :
Indian Penal Code enacted by the British recognised only two genders, creating a binary that never existed.
Over time, these constructs were absorbed in Indian society. The community has since faced extreme forms of violence for not conforming to socially dictated gender identities.
In too many cases, this lack of legal protection translates into unemployment for transgender people.
(iii) Harassment and stigma:
The community still faces considerable stigma.
The community, especially those who are a part of the ‘guru-chela’ structure in Hijra gharanas and practise the traditions of “mangti” and “badhai”, are often harassed, detained under begging prohibition laws, and forced into begging homes.
Barrier to healthcare:
Face barriers to obtaining medically-necessary health services and encountering medical professionals who lacked transgender health care competency.
(v) Identity Documents :-
The widespread lack of accurate identity documents among transgender people can have an impact on every area of their lives, including access to emergency housing or other public services.
In the case of transgender children, their families, unable to accept their status, subject them to domestic violence, which often compels these children to leave home.
There are other issues that worry transgender persons such as their right to property, adoption, marriage, pension, and care for the old and the disabled.
- Sensitising the workforce in protecting the rights and dignity of the community.
- Implement transgender bill effectively:
- The Bill recommends the formation of a National Council for Transgender Persons that is tasked with monitoring and evaluating policies formulated for transgender persons. This may pave the way for fulfilling the community’s long-standing demand for representation in the Rajya Sabha.
- Leading voices from the community have called for vocational programmes in creative fields, a recommendation made by the Standing Committee too.
- There is need for a comprehensive survey on the socio-economic status of the community.
- Transgender welfare boards are needed in different States.
- Transgender persons should take part in the national Census to generate accurate data.
- Explicit policies on transgender-friendly registration and non-discrimination and healthcare workers need to be trained to provide non-judgmental care.
Standing committee recommendations :
Recommended re-drafting the definition of a ‘transgender person’ to make it inclusive and accurate; providing for the definition of discrimination and setting up a grievance redress mechanism to address cases of discrimination and granting reservations to transgender persons.