Recently Indian Supreme Court has acknowledged transgender people as the third gender by amendment of Indian constitution, and it has created a special pulse over the nation. By this amendment this third gender community will have their scheduled quota in job and educational institutions and they will be able to select their sex as a third gender. This moderation obviously a significant progress toward eliminating the discrimination these people face in general, which is not only inhuman it is against humanity as well.
The present socioeconomic condition of transgender people in India
Presently, commonly known as transsexuals, cross dressers, and eunuchs, these transgender people live in a separate community and they lead their life by dancing and singing. It is reported that some of them earn their livelihood by begging or prostitution, which is neither prestigious nor hygienic for their safe living. In reality, neither they are considered as members of mainstream community, nor are they given general respect as a common human being. The worst part of their identity is despite knowing that neither these people are neither male nor female, society enforces them to select between the identity of a male or a female.
As per latest census, there are more than 2 million of transgender people in India and 95% of them are leading a life that is not worth living. However, in ancient India situation was not like this.
The social history of transgender people
It is still medically undefined why a normal mother gives birth to a transgender baby. However, in ancient Indian society, there was no social bias against these people. There are historical records that these trans-sexual people used to hold social and respectable positions, and in society they used to enjoy the normal social status as common citizens. In ancient Indian history as well as in mediaeval history, transgender people were considered as an integral component of society. The situation became reversed during British period when Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 was introduced and categorized these people as “criminals”; perhaps from that point of time, gradually people of this community started facing a typical social stigma, which in the course of time became a social abuse for them.
Global status of transgender community
India is not the only country that has bestowed social status to these cross-dressed people. Before India, Nepal and Bangladesh have recognized and declared the human rights of these people legally. Justice KS Radhakrishnan has declared in his verdict that these people are Indian Citizens too, and they are eligible to enjoy equal opportunity like other members of the Indian community. He has clearly mentioned that this recognition is an issue of human rights and it should be accepted nationwide undisputed.
Reaction against this legal decision
A mixed reaction has been observed against this third gender issue from Indian citizens. While some of the esteemed personalities like lawyer Anita Shenoy, social activist like Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, different political leaders as well as socialites and intellectuals have expressed their support and applause for the court’s decision, a few of them has raised a subtle issue. According to 2009 Delhi Court Order Homosexual sex is a prohibited issue; by acknowledging third genders government has raised a controversy. These people are now protected about their fundamental rights by Indian constitution, whereas by consensual sex they will act against Indian constitution.
However, the enforcement of this third gender law transgender people is a victory of humanity and it is a step toward an undisputed impartiality of society.