File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Transgender Community: Screams Behind The Silence

The talk about the third gender has always raised a plethora of concerns and curiosity throughout the years. The third gender or transgender is a term used to refer to people who do not adhere to the gender conformity into which they are born.

The recent Madras High Court judgement suggesting the provision of 1 % horizontal reservation for the transgender community in education and employment within all public sectors has given rise to a myriad of opinions and questions. This came after a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by activist Grace Bantu Ganeshan.

The history of eunuchs in India is a brutal one, the effects of which still mar the trans community today. The British-imposed Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 automatically labelled anyone from the trans community as a criminal. If found dressed as a female, they could be arrested without a warrant and sentenced to imprisonment for 2 years, a fine, or both. This draconian law has since been repealed.

The Supreme Court of India, on 15 April 2014, provided legal recognition to the transgender community through the landmark judgement in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India case. Around 27 (including India) nations across the world have passed legislation to recognise the third gender; however, it has been pending in a few nations such as Sweden , Peru and El Salvador.

According to the 2011 census , there are approximately 4.9 lakh transgender people in India. However , there is no separate reservation for the transgender community for education or employment provided by the central government. Some state governments have more positive news , such as Karnataka, which provides 1 % horizontal reservation to transgender persons because of the Sangam v. State of Karnataka judgement ; the Tamil Nadu government also recognised trans women as the most backward category (2015) ; the Madhya Pradesh government including the transgender community within the other backward classes (OBC) category ;and the Kerala government recently reserved seats for the transgender community in nursing courses.

These steps, though in the right direction, are insufficient. There are various problems at the grassroots level that need to be addressed:

Firstly, education should be a priority. According to the census, only 43% of the transgender community is literate, in contrast to 77% of literate women and 84.7% of literate men in India. Education is the key to change; children need to be educated about the third gender to help prevent superstition and stigma in the community. The National Education Policy of 2020 recognizes transgender children as socio-economically disadvantaged groups, along with the establishment of a Gender Inclusion Fund to improve the accessibility of education for trans students. However, quantifiable work has not been done in this direction yet.

Secondly, healthcare should become accessible, encompassing both mental and physical health. The suicide rate within the transgender community is 31%. This figure results from inadequate mental healthcare and societal pressure. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 mandates every state to establish at least one government hospital providing gender-affirmative surgery, hormone therapy, and counseling.

The act prohibits discrimination in the provision of healthcare facilities for the third gender. In a nation like ours, a simple law or policy would not suffice; safeguards need to be in place to ensure implementation, and progress needs to be tracked to further develop requisite policies for the betterment of the community.

Third, the provision of employment opportunities. Everyone should be eligible to earn a decent living, irrespective of their gender. Employment provides an individual with not only financial stability but also a sense of respect and social standing. The centre in July 2023 had told the Supreme Court of India that the trans community could avail the reservations for government jobs in scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and Socially and Economically Backward Communities. This however is not sufficient; there is a growing need for a separate act to provide reservation in government jobs for the trans community, done with an accurate census of the trans population in the nation in mind.

Fourth, the transgender community must be treated with dignity. Society plays a vital role in the life of an individual. Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE) is an exemplary initiative by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched on February 12,2022. This scheme sought to provide comprehensive welfare measures to the trans community, such as rehabilitation, education ,skill development, and economic linkages.

There are a few steps the community can take as a whole to improve the situation of the transgender community as a whole:

First , to treat the members of the trans community as equals and not discriminate. The community as a whole must be sensitive to the needs of this community to help them overcome their anxieties and insecurity. This could be done by using appropriate names and pronouns. When a trans youth identifies as a particular gender and chooses a name in accordance, it's respectful to address them in the appropriate pronouns that they choose.

Second , to educate others within the society. We as the society as a whole must stop being silent spectators to bullying and harassment and must raise our voices so that every member of society can live in peace and harmony. A small but effective step could be to educate ourselves about gender identity and help provide gender neutral restrooms.

Third, to not be biassed and to provide equal opportunities to the trans community in the arenas of education and employment. An individual's gender should not determine their employability. There are various places like school or colleges where trans students may not feel included, we as a community must endeavour to make the environment more welcoming and provide appropriate opportunities for them to thrive.

A few steps that could be taken by the government to improve the standing of the transgender community include the following:

Firstly, to subsidise healthcare to make gender reassignment surgeries (GRS) more affordable. The average cost of GRS in India is USD 17,500�25,000, which is prohibitively high for the general population. A commendable step has been taken by the Tamil Nadu government to provide free Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) in government hospitals. This should serve as a model policy for every other state in India.

Secondly, to spread awareness of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, given that 27% of transgender individuals are involved in sex work. The prevalence of HIV is nine times higher in trans sex workers than in non-trans female sex workers.

Thirdly, to provide employment opportunities to the transgender community through reservations and other poverty alleviation schemes. According to the National Human Rights Commission in 2018, 96% of transgender individuals were denied jobs, leading them to resort to sex work and begging.

Fourthly, to offer additional scholarships and reservations in government-owned schools to enhance their chances of employability and social inclusion. Currently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment provides four major scholarships, including scholarships for secondary school transgender students, scholarships for senior secondary education, scholarships for students (undergraduate/Diploma), and scholarships for students (post-graduation). However, a large number of trans students remain unaware of these opportunities to date, highlighting the need to spread awareness even at grassroots levels.

Fifthly, to provide increased access to mental healthcare to reduce the number of suicides and cases of depression and self-harm in the community. The Social Justice Department under the Government of Kerala has established a helpline for transgender individuals (1800 425 2147). Similar initiatives should be undertaken by the central government, making these helplines available even in schools and places of employment. School counsellors must receive appropriate training on how to help trans students overcome their anxieties.

Despite the hardships various trans activists like Akkai Padmashali, who received the Rajyotsava Prashasti have fought to provide a voice for the trans community. We as a nation have failed the trans community in various aspects throughout centuries, however, the duty lies upon our shoulders to usher in a new era where every trans person is given the opportunity to express themselves freely.

The transgender community could prove to be an asset to the nation if provided with the right opportunities. we must cull the age-old stigma and superstition associated with this community. The nation will enter into an era of peace and harmony only when every member of society is treated with dignity and respect.


Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly