Transgender Rights in India: What Does the Community Want?

In India, there are various socio-cultural groups of trans people identified by different names such as Aradhis, Jogappas,Hijras, and Sakhi. There are also those that don’t necessarily belong to any of these classifications but are individually known as transgender. 

While the transgender community in India is recognized as the third gender, there’s still much to do when it comes to attainment of their rights. Before laws are made to dictate what rights the transgender community in India have access to, maybe the most important thing to do is ask the community what exactly they want. 

So, what does the transgender community in India really want? What would be equality in the eyes of the Sakhi, Hijras, Aradhis, and Jogappas in India? Let’s try and find out.

Legal and Social Recognition

Even after the pass of the Transgender Rights Bill, there’s no secret that political goodwill for the transgender community is lacking. Politicians continue using citizens of India as vote banks. They’ve also failed miserably to acknowledge the need for significant positive change when it comes to the transgender community for fear of losing votes from other quarters. As a result, the fate of some of the minorities, which includes the transgender community, is frequently left in the hands of the majority. 

Social awareness about the transgender community in India is also significantly lacking. For instance, the community is still experiencing a lot of harassment and violence. Ask anyone you know what they can tell you about transgender individuals and the answer would probably be that they’ve got ‘bad behaviour’, or that they’re beggars. 

However, what we fail to see as a society is that it is we who are responsible for their unattractive conditions. Many transgender people have to go through being disowned by their families and negative perceptions from members of their communities or the very leaders whose job it is to protect them.  As a result of this kind of treatment as well as lack of employment opportunities has forced some members of the community to turn to prostitution and begging.

Equal Employment and Education Opportunities

While it is true that many individuals in the transgender community have been able to conquer the prejudices they’ve been subjected to, there are still parts of India where stereotypes about the transgender community continue to thrive. As a result, many a transgender person has been bypassed for an employment or work community. 

There are those people who refuse to give transgender people jobs. Considering this scenario, it is essential that awareness is done in regard to this and that transgender people have an opportunity to get proper skills and education. 

Educational institutions can play the role of sensitizing students about transgender issues. Teachers, as well as students are ignorant about transgender issues. On the flip side, a well-educated and supported transgender individual in India can perform as well as any other cisgender individual.