Day 63 – Q 2. You must have observed transgenders begging on the traffic signal and doing demeaning jobs. Do you think giving them status of a third gender will improve this situation? What more steps can be taken to improve their social condition?
2. You must have observed transgenders begging on the traffic signal and doing demeaning jobs. Do you think giving them status of a third gender will improve this situation? What more steps can be taken to improve their social condition?
Transgender is one of the most discriminated communities accross the world. Recently, Lok Sabha passed a bill seeking to empower the transgender community by providing them a separate identity.
Briefly about Transgender in India
- Numbering approximately 4,90,000 as per the last count (2011), transgender people in India are perhaps one of the most visibly invisible population in the country.
- Historically, Indian society has been tolerant of diverse sexual identities and sexual behaviours. However, transgender people have been increasingly recognised as one of the most socio-economically marginalised communities in the country.
- Often shunned as a menace to society, they are now only visible on the streets and localities where they are found begging, never as a part of the mainstream.
- They are subject to extreme forms of social ostracisation and exclusion from basic dignity and human rights. They remain highly vulnerable to gender-based violence.
Significance of Status of ‘Third gender’
- Identity: Every human being has an identity which is dear to them. Similarly, Third gender status will give transgender community a definite identity in the society.
- Access to public services: Health, education, voting rights, and access to several other services becomes difficult when a person refuses to accept one of the two “widely accepted” identities of male or female. Now, a third gender identity will help them to avail those services which are available equally to all.
- Employment opportunities: A socially acceptable and legally protected status will help the community members to seek any employment just as other members of the society.
- Rights and empowerment: Legal protection of their identity will help them to demand opportunities and practice their rights.
Identity is important but not sufficient:
- Despite laws, policies and their implementation, the community continues to remain quite marginalised and highly vulnerable.
- We have numerous examples of higher education institutions providing quota and giving special consideration to transgender people, but the takers remain few and far between. This is mostly because the school education of most transgender people either remains incomplete or non-existent.
- The lack of basic schooling is a direct result of bullying and, hence, transgender persons are forced to leave schools, which remain unequipped to handle children with alternate sexual identities.
- Education is one example, there remains many such issues which needs to be addressed.
What more needs to be done?
Definition of Transgender: There must be a sensitive definition of the community and its individuals. Insensitive definition of transgender in Bill passed by Lok Sabha is against the dignity and respect to individuals.
Provision of self determination of gender: Laws and society should not define the gender identity of individuals, rather individuals should be given freedom to decide their own identities.
Reservation in education and employment: It will help them make economic and social progress in the society and contribute to it in equal manner as done by other members.
Civil rights: Of the community and individuals should be protected under law. Atrocities against them should be dealt seriously.
- The need of the hour is a robust Bill with strong anti-discrimination provisions that will remedy the historical injustices faced by the transgender community, which continues to fight for the most basic rights even today.
- There is much good intention behind the welfare provisions, but social legislation is much more than high-minded clauses. It needs to be followed up with zealous implementation and framing of deadlines to achieve specific objectives.
- A multi-pronged approach is needed on a war footing in the form of mass awareness campaigns, generating avenues for dignified employment, gender sensitisation and affirmative action.
Best Answer: Desert Eagle