We all know the transgender community has been facing difficulties in getting their due rights and recognition. Let’s lens a closer look at who they really are. They are simply men or women whose appearances and personality don’t match the stereotypical notions of “man” and “woman”. It lends perspective to the fact that they are not typical to conventions and just be who they want to be. Transgenders have existed in our society since age’s bygone, often termed as “hijra”, “sakhi”, “kinnar”, “aradhi” etc. The contemporary term “transgender” is nothing but an umbrella term that shades transsexual people, male and female cross-dressers, intersexed individuals and atypical personalities that don’t conform to societal norms.
The problems that the transgender community faces are harsh. They come in the form of discrimination, homelessness, unemployment, depression, social ostracizing and even sexual assaults. Often, they are denied adoption and the pleasure of taking care of a child. Inheritance of property is also a key issue that doesn’t get resolved due to sexual orientation. Being outcasts, and being boycotted from mainstream jobs and opportunities, they are forced to seek employment in flesh trade. Working as sex workers allow them to stay away from crossing paths with embarrassing questions and taunts and also pays for their survival. It is traumatic for them when they have to subdue to such atrocities. They don’t even have the right to vote! The most basic criteria of citizenship are denied to transgenders because of their sexual orientation. In India in 1994, the community was granted the right to vote, and they were issued voter ID cards. But the process got stuck in the male/female question. Their cards were called back because they weren’t granted the choice of their sexual category.
But, we’re not absolutely ignorant about it either. The Supreme Court of India has recognized the existence and difficulties the transgender community has been facing for so many years. They are pointed as –
Legal recognition for the third gender – by legal recognition, the Supreme Court of India has ruled in the State and the Centre to compulsorily accept procedures pertaining to the third gender in the same manner as males and females. All criminal and civil matters like adoption and marriage are to be identified.
Legal recognition for people transforming within the male/female binaries – states that they will go with the “Psychological test” and not the “Biological test”.
Public health and sanitation – the Centre or State are directed to provide healthcare facilities and medication. Transgenders are to be provided Public sanitation facilities separately. They are also to be provided with awareness and provisions for HIV.
Socio-economic relief – the transgender community is supposed to be recognized as an economically and socially backward class. They are to be provided with a variety of opportunities for uplifting their social and economic status. They are also to be given special reservation in educational institutions and government jobs.
Social and public awareness – the Centre and State are instructed to integrate the transgenders into the society. They are not to be ostracized or made to feel ashamed or embarrassed about themselves. They are not supposed to be subjected to violence or abuse of any form. They are to be respected and accepted as they are humans and the Constitution recognizes the rights of every human.
Section 377 is misused to strike sexual violence and atrocities. The judgment only says that this amounts to a misuse of the law as opposed to what it actually dictates, thus refusing to meaningfully apply a fundamental rights analysis to it.
The Court finds that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity violates Article 14 and that transgenders are extremely vulnerable to harassment, violence and sexual assault in public spaces, at home and in jail, even by the police.
Naturally, these measures are a beacon of Hope for the transgender community, but there is still a long race to run for they are still oppressed and discriminated against. The most fundamental point to be remembered is that they are human beings just like the rest. They too deserve their due and often it is unfair to them when they have to fight hard for it