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Transgenders: Acceptance and Inclusion

At the ongoing Kumbh mela at Prayagraj, there is a separate Akhara for the transgenders. There are already so many Akharas of Sadhu and Sdhavi`s then what special about this transgender Akhara?

Chander Mohan

At the ongoing Kumbh mela at Prayagraj, there is a separate Akhara for the transgenders. There are already so many Akharas of Sadhu and Sdhavi`s then what special about this transgender Akhara?  

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is a tattooed transgender head and a former reality TV star at the Kumbh mela 2019. Her religious movement, known as the Kinnar Akhada, was the first transgender group to bathe at the Sangam on the first day of the ancient event, usually reserved for the reclusive Hindu priests.

 Indian Census has never recognized third gender i.e. Transgender while collecting census data for years. But in 2011, data of Transgenders were collected with details related to their employment, Literacy and Caste. In India, total population of transgender is around 4.88 Lakh as per 2011 census. The data of Transgender has been cubbed inside "Males" in the primary data released by Census Department. For educational purpose, separate data of Transgender has been curved out from that.  

Is India ready to accept the ‘third gender’ of the country yet? Well we will get to the answer later, first let us rewind to the origin of the words – third gender. In 2014, the Supreme Court pronounced a landmark judgement recognizing transgender people as the ‘third gender’.  

In the judgement, also known as the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), the apex court ruled that people of the transgender community have equal privilege over the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. The individuals have the right to self-identification of their sexual orientation, it further stated.  

Another breakthrough in the move towards the upliftment of the transgender people was the Supreme Court's August 2017 verdict, in which it declared Right to Privacy as a fundamental right. The ruling enabled protection of sexual orientation of citizens.  

Though the transgender people got a legal recognition, it was not a smooth sailing for them because the social stigmas linked to the community continue to exist in the society. Nonetheless, as the saying goes, 'Where there is a will, there is a way', several transgender people crossed the many hurdles to achieve what they aimed to.  

Answering the question, whether or not India has opened its heart for the transgender persons, here are a few successful stories, from 2017, of people from the marginalised community:  

India got its first transgender judge - Joyita Mondal from West Bengal made history on July 8, 2017, when she became the first transgender judge to attend a Lok Adalat at Islampur in North Dinjapur district of the state.  Beginning her journey as a social worker, Mondal worked for the betterment of her community, sending a strong message against 'gender bias' against the transgender people.   

"If transgenders start getting government jobs, then their condition will become better, as due to the social discrimination, they are forced to run away from their homes and indulge in age-old hijra activities in India, like dancing in marriages, functions etc." Mondal  said after being appointed a Lok Adalat judge.  

Tamil Nadu gives India first transgender police sub-inspector -Born a male in Salem, K Prithika Yashini felt as a “woman trapped in a man's body” when she reached teenage. The 26-year-old underwent a gender reassignment surgery after coming to Chennai and went on to apply for the post of sub-inspector as a 'transgender'.   

However, the police force rejected her application stating that there were only two columns under which she had to file her application. But, she did not give up the fight just yet and took Tamil Nadu Uniform Services Recruitment Board to Madras High Court. And, she won the fight for her right as the high court ruled in her favour, paving the way for her to become the sub-inspector of police.  

A transgender from West Bengal, Manabi Bandopadhyay, made history on June 9, 2015, when she was made the college principal at Krishnagar Women's College in Nadia district. She is the first transgender to have achieved this feat.  

In a first, Kerala's Kochi Metro Rail Ltd. deployed 23 transgender people in May to push for the welfare of the marginalized and neglected community. This was for the first time a government-owned company in the state provided bulk employment to members of the ‘third gender’. The Kochi Metro is further planning to deploy 60 more transgender employees in the next two years.  

Let us respect their First to be in the mainstream of the Society.  

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