The article discusses the plight of transgender community in India
Who are transgenders?
- Transgenders are people whose gender identity or expression does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.
- 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:
- As per the Census of 2011, the total population of Transgender in India is 4.9lakh
- There are various types of transgender communities in India- Hijras, Eunuchs, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv-Shakthis etc.
Problems faced by transgender communities in India:
- 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
- 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.
- Discrimination: Transgenders are socially excluded, mistreated and discriminated in terms of employment, justice, health etc.
- Economic hardships: They are economically marginalised and forced into professions like prostitution and begging for livelihood.
- Gender-based violence: Transgenders are often subjected to sexual abuse and rape
- 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).
- 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”.
- In 2014, the Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority Vs. Union of India recognised the transgenders as the “Third Gender”
- Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016: The bill seeks to bring social, educational and economic empowerment to the transgender community
- 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
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