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Gender? Select One: Male, Female, Transgender

April 15th, 2014 is a date that should make every Indian feel proud of their country. It was on this day that the Indian Supreme Court officially recognized transgender people as a third gender. In a world where change is not accepted with open arms, India has taken a huge step towards true equality for all of its citizens.

The Problem

Transgender people are frowned upon, beaten, bullied,and even killed because they’re different. Part of the problem is that people don’t truly understand the meaning of the word “transgender.” The word is a term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from that which is typically associated with the gender assigned at birth. It is not a term to be played around with. There are an estimated 3 million transgender people in India. Transgender people are a part of society just like everyone else, and anything less than equal treatment is wrong. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan (a judge of the Indian Supreme Court) says,

“Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue.”

The Solution

India has faced this problem, and dealt with it in the best way possible. Transgender people now have the ability to apply for public service jobs and gain welfare benefits, whereas before many of them (commonly known as “hijras” in India) would work as dancers or prostitutes. They faced horrible discrimination, and were often denied medical care. Now, transgender people will be recognized as so on birth certificates, passports, licenses, etc. The government is considering making the transgender portion of the Indian population a minority group to help fill job and school quotas.


Unfortunately, while this change is a great milestone in Indian history, the law only applies to transgender individuals. There is a still a law that criminalizes homosexuality (Indian Penal Code 377). Getting this law abolished is the next step. People of the LGBTQ+ community are strongly discriminated against in India, and will continue to be unless more people take a stand against this injustice. Organizations like trikone and Sangama offer support to the LGBT community. Adolescents and young adults today are the ones who can pave the way to a more tolerant world. Show your support, and remember that everyone is entitled to the same rights.

[Image Attribute: Flickr]
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