The shoe on the other foot – changing scenario of Trans community in India
By NEELAM AHIRWAR,
Department of Forensic Science
The transgender minority in India has always been on the periphery of society. Transgender people were not officially recognised as the “third gender” until the Supreme Court’s historic NALSA judgement decision in 2014. Over the years, the Indian government has consistently and significantly worked to create and advance a trans-inclusive society. According to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019, anyone whose gender does not match the one they were assigned at birth is referred to as “transgender”. No matter whether they have undergone gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, laser treatment, or any other form of therapy, transgender people of all genders, intersex people, genderqueers, and people who identify with sociocultural groups like the Kinner, Hijra, Aravani, and Jogta are all included in this definition.
There have been transgender people in every class, ethnicity, and caste. However, their acknowledgment has always been difficult. The hijra, jogta, jogappa, Sakhis, and Aradhis sub-communities make up the transgender group, and all of these individuals face numerous difficulties on a daily basis. Social isolation, marginalization, a lack of educational and employment possibilities, verbal and sexual assault, mental health concerns, extreme poverty, violence, and being a victim of hate crimes are some of these issues.
In spite of facing such challenging situation periodically, hope for transgender people all across the world is sparked by the name JOYITA MONDAL. From pavement to Supreme Court, journey of India’s first transgender Judge is a shining example of tenacity, hard work, and dedication. She is the country’s first transgender social worker who became member of a civil court’s judicial panel on July 2017. Another feather to be added in cap is by folk dancer MATHA B MANJAMMA JOGATI. She was presented Padma Shri , third highest civilian award, in recognition for her contribution to folk dance by then president Ram Nath Kovind at rashtrapati bhavan on November 2021 after NARTHAKI NATARAJ, a renowned Bharatnatyam dancer from Tamil Nadu, who was the first transgender person to be conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri Award in the year 2019. DR. AQSA, from Mumbai, is the sole transgender medical expert in community medicine. She works as a senior lecturer at the Delhi-based Hamdard Institute of Medical Science and Research (HIMSAR). With her medical qualification in the field of Community Medicine, she contributed to the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic as incharge of Covid-19 surveillance at the institute’s hospital. BOBI, an AAP candidate who won the Sultanpuri-A ward in December 2022 was the first transgender member of Delhi civic body shortly joining the Delhi Municipal Corporation. She had pledged to fight corruption inside the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
Now the shoe is on the other foot for trans people in India. They are becoming increasingly courageous to live openly despite strong opposition. Transgender persons are now more widely accepted in high-ranking government posts, academic institutions, and extracurricular activities, among other places. In order to protect transgender rights and ensure that they are not subject to any form of discrimination in the areas of healthcare, education, and work, our duty as civilians is to treat them fairly and with the same respect as people of all other genders.