Beyond Binaries

Beyond Binaries


The article discusses the plight of transgender community in India

Important Analysis:

Who are transgenders?

  1. Transgenders are people whose gender identity or expression does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.
  2. They are referred to as transsexuals if they desire medical assistance in order to make the transition from one biological sex to another.

Transgender community in India:

  1. As per the Census of 2011, the total population of Transgender in India is 4.9lakh
  2. There are various types of transgender communities in India- Hijras, Eunuchs, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv-Shakthis etc.

Problems faced by transgender communities in India:

  1. Forced to leave parental home: Boys who do not conform to the societal gender construct are unaccepted and forced to leave home live in vulnerable conditions
  2. Lack of educational facilities: Transgender children are forced to drop out of schools as Indian schools remain unequipped to handle children with alternative sexual identities.
  3. Discrimination: Transgenders are socially excluded, mistreated and discriminated in terms of employment, justice, health etc.
  4. Economic hardships: They are economically marginalised and forced into professions like prostitution and begging for livelihood.
  5. Gender-based violence: Transgenders are often subjected to sexual abuse and rape
  6. Health issues: The community remain highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV AIDS. According to a recent UNAIDS report, the HIV prevalence among transgenders in India is 3.1% (2017).

Steps taken:

  1. In 2009, in a move to improve voter registration of transgender people, the Election Commission issued directions to all provinces to amend the format of the registration forms to include an option of “others”.
  2. In 2014, the Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority Vs. Union of India recognised the transgenders as the “Third Gender”
  3. Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016: The bill seeks to bring social, educational and economic empowerment to the transgender community
  4. Increasing HIV services to the community: The National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) reported that 2,40,000 hijras were provided with HIV prevention and treatment services in 2015, compared to 1,80,000 in 2014

Way Forward:

A multi-prolonged approach with focus on public awareness campaigns, generating avenues for dignified employment, gender sensitisation is needed for socio-economic empowerment of the transgender community in India

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