Supreme Court creates a ‘Third Gender’ for transgenders
Hijras or Transgenders are no longer forced to write male or female against their name as the Supreme Court has given them the status of the “third gender”. This is for the first time that the third gender has got a formal recognition. The apex court passed the judgment on a PIL filed by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) requesting the court to give separate identity to transgenders by recognizing them as third category of gender.
Key directions and observations from the Supreme Court:
- Centre has been asked to treat transgender as socially and economically backward.
- Transgenders to get admission in educational institutions and employment on the basis that they belonged to the third gender category.
- Absence of law recognizing hijras as third gender should not be continued as a ground to discriminate them in availing equal opportunities in education and employment.
- OBC status to third gender and educational and employment reservation as OBCs.
- States and the Centre asked to formulate social welfare schemes for third gender community and start a public awareness campaign to wipe off social stigma.
- States advised to construct special public toilets and departments to look into their special medical issues.
- If a person surgically changes his/her gender, then he or she is entitled to her changed gender and cannot be discriminated.
The court observed that trangenders were respected earlier in the society but situation has changed and they now face discrimination and harassment. Section 377 of IPC is being misused by police and other authorities against them and their social and economic condition is far from satisfactory.