This is really a turning point for the democracy and it is another important move in favour of Citizen’s Rights. We must all laud and hail the decision of SC in transgender’s support. We must recognise and respect people of all backgrounds in our day to day lives. Congratulations to all the transgenders. Here again, we should not forget that Tamil Nadu had first initiated this in its state. Recommending that ‘transgender’ be used as an inclusive term to cover all gender identities and expressions, the report has called for a compilation of all known transgender socio-cultural groups to be prepared and circulated among all for guidance. The terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ should not be used interchangeably, and only the term ‘gender’ should be used in official documents, such as identity documents, application forms, returns and reports.
Even before the Supreme Court recognised them as a third gender, the state of Tamil Nadu, under Karunanidhi started giving full recognition to them as the third gender and the government even gave them a name called “Thirunangai”. Even in the government school and college applications, they introduced this third gender in Tamil Nadu. A very forward thinking and bit of official work, indeed!
Small changes have been made in public places to accommodate the physically challenged, after Scientist Hawking’s visit to India. New schools started programs to address slow learner children separately, and now, transgenders-inclusivity will develop a social thinking, adding-up to REAL social development. These steps define the new paradigm in thinking. Importantly, it has asked the National Crime Records Bureau to collect and compile statistics of crimes against transgenders and cases registered against them. The committee, set up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment last year and chaired by the Additional Secretary of the Ministry, has said action must be taken against parents who neglect or abuse their gender non-conforming children and doctors who practice electro-shock or other kinds of unethical “conversion” therapy. Criminal and disciplinary action must be taken against delinquent police officers for violation of human rights of transgender persons. Its report, submitted a few weeks after the Supreme Court criminalised same gender consensual sex, wanted laws against sexual assault and harassment and domestic violence made transgender-inclusive. Now Section 375 of the IPC, as amended, does not cover the transgender persons as victims of sexual assault. Section 375 should be included to cover sexual assault on them.
The Medical Council of India, along with leading mental health institutions and organisations working on transgender issues, should develop practice protocols for the care of adolescent trangenders. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will prepare a policy statement on providing essential gender-transition services in public hospitals, and a national clinical guidance document in keeping with international guidelines. Harassment and discrimination are the evils in the society. The judgement and directions should be well adopted. Apart from academics education should impart the importance of the respect for humanity in family institutions and in society.
Nepal and Bangladesh have already recognised transgenders as the third gender. And ours is a very progressive nation as the EC in 2009 allowed “Other” in gender type on ballot forms heralding a new era back then. We are human and its sub categorisation cannot be something where we exclude a part of the race. This decision establishes the independence of Indian judiciary and its efforts to change according to the socio, economic, political cultural, psychological factors of the country. Even if no country has a concept of third gender, it marks the peak of Indian judicial creativity to recognise them which is found nowhere else.
This is a significant win for transgender communities who had fought a long battle for their identity and rights. Hopefully, now the government will stop dragging its feet in introducing the “others” in gender column. Their issues and troubles are unique, the community demands the setting up of central and state third gender welfare board to address their specific problems on the lines of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commissions respectively. States like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra already have such bodies. Now, India became sensitive to the existence, trials and tribulations of this minority community.
Basically, it is a human life, whether it is male, female or transgender. I hope, there won’t be any reservation for this category.