Mains Paper 3: Social Justice
Prelims level: Transgender
Mains level: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the
Centre and States
and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies
for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
- Transgender people have a gender identity or expression that
differs from their assigned sex at birth.
- They are sometimes also referred to as transsexuals if they desire
medical assistance in order to make the transition from one biological sex
Analysing the data
- Approximately 4,90,000 as per the last count (2011), transgender
people in India are perhaps one of the most visibly invisible population in
- Historically, Indian society has been tolerant of diverse sexual
identities and sexual behaviours.
- The “hijra” community evolved to form a unique subculture within
the Indian society, existing alongside the ubiquitous heterosexual unit of
- They had cultural and social significance across the country in
- The same is evident in Indian mythology and ancient literature
such as the Kamasutra, or the epics such as the Mahabharata, in which the
transgender community has been portrayed with dignity and respect.
The Social context
- However, transgender people have been increasingly recognised as
one of the most socio-economically marginalised communities in the country.
- Since the late 19th century, they have been pushed to the margins
of society, and have lost the social-cultural position they once enjoyed.
- Often shunned as a menace to society, they are now only visible on
the streets and localities where they are found begging, never as a part of
- They are subject to extreme forms of social ostracisation and
exclusion from basic dignity and human rights.
- They remain highly vulnerable to gender-based violence.
- As a direct result of their acute mistreatment, vilification,
ostracisation and dehumanisation, they also remain highly vulnerable to
fatal communicable diseases like HIV-AIDS.
- The typical lifecycle of a transgender person in India can,
perhaps, be construed as one of the most painful.
- Most often, boys who do not conform to the gender construct binary
in our society leave, or are forced to leave their families, and live in
- More often than not, these children or young individuals begin
their journey alone and in search of individuals of their kind, a journey
that is marred by unspeakable hardships and abuse.
- Despite laws, policies and their implementation, the community
continues to remain quite marginalised and highly vulnerable.
- We have numerous examples of higher education institutions
providing quota and giving special consideration to transgender people, but
the takers remain few and far between. This is mostly because the school
education of most transgender people either remains incomplete or
- The lack of basic schooling is a direct result of bullying and,
hence, transgender persons are forced to leave schools, which remain
unequipped to handle children with alternate sexual identities.
- However, an increasing number of activists have continued to work
at the grassroots for the welfare of the community and managed to bring
society’s attention to its socio-economic deprivation.
Appreciation by different government institutions
- This decision of the EC also went a long way towards opening the
nation’s eyes to the realities of a deprived community that still continues
to be at the margins.
- One member of the community, in conversation with the BBC before
the 2014 General Elections, added, “the Election Commission has given us the
most important aspect of our life freedom”.
- The Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority Vs. Union
of India (2014) recognised them as the “Third Gender”.
- In the landmark ruling, Justice K S Radhakrishnan, who headed the
two-judge bench, observed that “recognition of transgenders as a third
gender is not a social or medical issue, but a human rights issue”.
- India’s first transgender mayor of Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, Madhu
Kinnar, elected to office, in 2015.
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, has
been passed in the Rajya Sabha. It is now pending in the Lok Sabha.
- According to a recent UNAIDS report, the HIV prevalence among
transgenders is 3.1 per cent (2017), which is the second highest amongst all
communities in the country.
- Only about 68 per cent of the people are even aware that they are
infected, which is worrying.
- High instances of substance abuse and low levels of literacy only
- World AIDS Day, celebrated on the December 1 every year, serves as
a stark reminder to us as a nation that, communities such as that of
transgenders warrant special attention from not only the state machinery,
but from the society at large.
- There are encouraging trends. HIV services for the community are
rapidly improving in a targeted manner after the SC verdict.
- The National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) reported that
2,40,000 hijras were provided with HIV prevention and treatment services in
2015, compared to 1,80,000 the previous year.
- A multi-pronged approach is needed on a war footing in the form of
mass awareness campaigns, generating avenues for dignified employment,
gender sensitisation and affirmative action.
- Only then can the trailblazing efforts of the Election Commission
and the judiciary for ensuring inclusive elections in the world’s largest
democracy also result in a meaningful and inclusive democracy
Q.1) The primary aim of G4 nations is the:
A. Economy Motives
B. Free Trade Movements
C. Political Motives
D. Permanent member seats on the Security Council
Q.1) Analyse challenges and solutions that exist in making members of the
transgender community part of the mainstream.