Being a Transgender in India

DARSHAN PARASHAR
 

Transgender is an important topic to research nowadays. The term transgender is differentiated by us, the very so called social and sensible being. Though India is progressing and advancing in leaps and bounds, she is moving towards accepting them by only the virtue of court verdict.

Transgender community includes hijras, kothis, jogappas etc, who have been part of Indian society for centuries. The Vedic literature mentions third gender and "Napunsaka" someone with the loss of procreative ability. In India "kinnar" and "chakkas" are the common words which are used to describe the third gender. The census of 2011 in India revealed the total population of India to be around 4.88 lakhs.

However the supreme court of India passed an unique judgment stating one sexual orientation as an integral part of one's personality, dignity and freedom and identified transgender as the third gender. Also the article 377 of the India pennal code (IPC) was an act that criminalises homosexuality and was introduced in the year 1861 during the british rule of India, the article says that whoever has any type of intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life. However on 6th September 2018 the supreme court declared article 377 as unconstitutional. The landmark judgement declared that homosexuality is no longer a crime in India and that the LGBTQ community have the same sexual rights as any other citizen.

Transgender is a term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that associated gender at birth. For example a person might be declared male during birth but as the days pass by, the person's internal organ and the behavior might seem more like a female.

"How it feels like to be a transgender in India?"

It all depends on people's views and mentality. People expect to see transgender as escorts, prostitutes, or beggars only. By the word transgender, regular Indians only think of male to female trans women who dress and act as women, and do not even probably know that androgynous(having both male and female characteristics) people and female to male trans males also exist.

According to India's three ancient spiritual traditions i.e Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism there is a reference to the third Sex. And it can be inferred that Vedic culture recognizes three genders.

Also we can find some transgender who scripted history such as Padmini Prakash who's the India's first transgender prime time anchor at Lotus TV, K prithika yashini who's the first transgender police officer in Tamil Nadu.
After West Bengal and Maharashtra, Assam got it's first transgender judge Mrs Swati Bidhan Baruah.
We can live together peacefully only if people use their rational mind. We should start copying western people mentality rather than copying their culture.
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