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© 2017 Annals of Indian Psychiatry | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow 59
Editorial
Transgender community includes Hijras, Eunuchs, Kothis,
Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv-Shakthis etc., who have been a
part of Indian society for centuries. The Vedic and Puranic
literatures mention “tritiyaprakriti” meaning the third gender
and “napunsaka” meaning someone with the loss of procreative
ability. The word hijra used in the Indian language appears
to be derived from the Persian word hiz, i.e., someone who
is effeminate and/or ineffective or incompetent. Another
commonly used word is kinnar, whereas chhakka is used in a
derogatory context.[1] Though most of the eunuchs seen today
are begging at trafc signals or during weddings, they were a
respected lot during the Mughal rule in the Medieval India. The
word “eunuch” is derived from the Greek word “Euneukhos
which literally means bed chamber attendant.” Hence, they
were put in charge of harems due to their emasculation.[1,2]
During the British rule, they were denied civil rights and were
considered a separate caste or tribe who did kidnapping and
castration of children and danced and dressed-like women.
The LGBTQ group is referred to as the “lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, and queer community” which includes those
with gender dysphoria and different sexual orientations. The
lesbian and gay people have been accepted in many parts of
the world and have also got their rights, but the transgender
is still without rights.
PrEvalEnCE of transGEndEr in india
Indian census has never recognized the third gender,
i.e., transgender while collecting census data for years. However,
in the Census of 2011, data of transgender were collected in the
category of “Others” under Gender with details related to their
employment, literacy, and caste. The census revealed the total
population of transgender to be around 4.88 lakh. The data have
been primarily linked to the males section as they are usually
counted as men, but on request, they may be counted as women.
Due to this, it is impossible to comment on the actual transgender
population, though the census has provided an approximate
estimate. The 2011 census also reported 55,000 children as
transgender identied by their parents.[3]
CurrEnt sCEnario
The Supreme Court of India passed a unique judgment in
April 2014[4] stating one’s sexual orientation as the integral
part of personality, dignity, and freedom and identified
transgender as a third gender. In the National Legal Services
Authority (NLSA) versus Union of India case, the apex court
provided the transgender (Hijras and Eunuchs) a legal identity
along with seven other directions. Post the NLSA judgment;
various courts passed favorable orders for the transgender
community.
Based on the NLSA judgment, the Rajya Sabha passed the
Rights of Transgender Bill, 2014. However, the government
then passed another Bill, Rights for Transgender Persons Bill,
2015, modifying on the 2014 bill by removing the provisions
relating to Transgender Rights Court as well as the National
and State Commissions. The 2015 Bill underwent further
changes and another bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in
2016 — the transgender persons (Protection of Rights Bill),
which invited criticism from the transgender and activists.[5]
thE transGEndEr PErsons (ProtECtion of riGhts)
Bill, 2016
Highlights of the bill
The Bill denes a transgender person as one who is partly
female or male; or a combination of female and male; or
neither female nor male. In addition, the person’s gender
must not match the gender assigned at birth and includes
trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex variations
and gender-queers
A transgender person must obtain a certicate of identity
as proof of recognition of identity as a transgender person
and to invoke rights under the Bill
Such a certificate would be granted by the District
Magistrate on the recommendation of a Screening
Committee. The committee would comprise a medical
ofcer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare
ofcer, a government ofcial, and a transgender person
The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender
person in areas such as education, employment, and
healthcare. It directs the central and state governments to
provide welfare schemes in these areas
Offences such as compelling a transgender person to beg,
denial of access to a public place, physical and sexual
abuse, etc. would attract up to 2 years’ imprisonment and
a ne.[6]
Key issues and analysis
The Supreme Court has held that the right to
self-identication of gender is part of the right to dignity
and autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
However, objective criteria may be required to determine
one’s gender to be eligible for entitlements
The Bill states that a person recognized as “transgender”
would have the right to “self-perceived’ gender identity.
However, it does not provide for the enforcement of such
a right. A District Screening Committee would issue a
certicate of identity to recognize transgender persons
The denition of “transgender persons” in the Bill is at
variance with the denitions recognized by international
bodies and experts in India
Transgender: Status in India
[Downloaded free from http://www.anip.co.in on Sunday, January 7, 2018, IP: 10.232.74.27]
Sawant: Transgender status
Annals of Indian Psychiatry ¦ Volume 1 ¦ Issue 2 ¦ July-December 2017
60
The Bill includes terms such as “trans-men,”
“trans-women,” persons with “intersex variations,” and
“gender-queers” in its denition of transgender persons.
However, these terms have not been dened.[6]
There are several other areas which need clarications such
as certain criminal and personal laws which are currently
in existence and only recognize the genders of “man” and
“woman.” It is unclear how such laws would apply to
transgender persons who may not identify with either of the
two genders. Hence, these laws would need amendments.
ConClusion
The Government of India today has taken a stance and
introduced several welfare policies and schemes for the
transgender which would be a big step forward. These include
census, documentation, issuing of the citizenship ID Cards,
issuing passports along with social, economic, political
transformation, housing, legal measures, police reforms,
legal and constitutional safeguards to prevent human rights
violations of the transgender community and institutional
mechanisms to address specic concerns of transgender people.
MEdiCal lExiCon
The following denitions help in understanding the various
gender-related terminologies:[7-9]
Assigned gender refers to a person’s initial assignment as
male or female at birth. It is based on the child’s genitalia
and other visible physical sex characteristics
Agendered – “without gender,” individuals identifying as
having no gender identity
Cisgender – describes individuals whose gender identity
or expression aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth
Closeted describes an LGBTQ person who has not
disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity
Coming out – The process in which a person first
acknowledges, accepts, and appreciates his or her sexual
orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with
others
Gender – denotes the public (and usually legally
recognized) lived role as boy or girl, man, or woman.
Biological factors combined with social and psychological
factors contribute to gender development
Gender-atypical – refers to physical features or behaviors
that are not typical of individuals Gender expression – the
manner in which a person communicates about gender
to others through external means such as clothing,
appearance, or mannerisms. This communication may
be conscious or subconscious and may or may not reect
their gender identity or sexual orientation
Gender-nonconforming – refers to behaviors that are not
typical of individuals with the same assigned gender in a
given society
Gender reassignment - denotes an ofcial (and usually
legal) change of gender
Gender identity – is a category of social identity and
refers to an individual’s identication as male, female or,
occasionally, some category other than male or female.
It is one’s deeply held core sense of being male, female,
some of both or neither and does not always correspond
to biological sex
Gender dysphoria – as a general descriptive term refers
to an individual’s discontent with the assigned gender. It
is more specically dened when used as a diagnosis
Gender expansiveness – conveys a wider, more exible
range of gender identity and/or expression than typically
associated with the binary gender system
Gender uidity – a person who does not identify with a
single xed gender, of or relating to a person having or
expressing a uid or unxed gender identity
Gender queer gender queer people typically reject
notions of static categories of gender and embrace a
uidity of gender identity and often, though not always,
sexual orientation. People who identify as “gender queer”
may see themselves as being both male and female, neither
male nor female or as falling completely outside these
categories
Transgender – refers to the broad spectrum of individuals
who transiently or persistently identify with a gender
different from their gender at birth.(Note: The term
transgendered is not generally used)
Transsexual refers to an individual who seeks, or
has undergone, a social transition from male-to-female
or female to male. In many, but not all, cases this also
involves a physical transition through cross-sex hormone
treatment and genital surgery (sex reassignment surgery)
Transphobia - fear and hatred of, or discomfort with,
transgender people.
Neena S. Sawant
Department of Psychiatry, Seth GSMC and KEM Hospital, Mumbai,
Maharashtra, India
Address for correspondence: Dr. Neena S. Sawant,
Department of Psychiatry, Seth GSMC and KEM Hospital, Parel,
Mumbai ‑ 400 012, Maharashtra, India.
E‑mail: drneenas@yahoo.com
rEfErEnCEs
1. Michelraj M. Historical evolution of transgender community in India.
Asian Rev Soc Sci 2015;4:17-9.
2. Chettiar A. Problems faced by Hijras (male to female transgenders) in
Mumbai with reference to their health and harassment by the police. Int
J Soc Sci Humanity 2015;5:753-9.
3. Available from: http://www.census2011.co.in/transgender.
php. [Last accessed on 2017 Oct 28].
4. Radhakrishnan KS. In the supreme court of India Civil original
jurisdiction Writ petition (civil) No. 400 of 2012 National legal services
authority. Judgment 2013. Available from: http://www.prsindia.org/
uploads/media/Transgender/Transgender%20rights%20case%20
(NALSA%20 vs.%20UoI).pdf. [Last accessed 2017 Oct 30].
5. Available from: https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_
Legal_Services_Authority_v._Union_of_India. [Last accessed on
2017 Oct 28].
6. Available from: http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/
[Downloaded free from http://www.anip.co.in on Sunday, January 7, 2018, IP: 10.232.74.27]
Sawant: Transgender status
Annals of Indian Psychiatry ¦ Volume 1 ¦ Issue 2 ¦ July-December 2017 61
the-transgender-persons-protection-of-rights-bill-2016-4360/.
[Last accessed on 2017 Oct 28].
7. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric
Publishing; 2013.
8. Available from: https://www.pag.org/glossary. [Last accessed on
2017 Oct 30].
9. Available from: https://www.hrc.org/resources/glossary-of-terms.
[Last accessed on 2017 Nov 02].
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Historical evolution of transgender community in India
  • M Michelraj
Michelraj M. Historical evolution of transgender community in India. Asian Rev Soc Sci 2015;4:17-9.
In the supreme court of India Civil original jurisdiction Writ petition (civil) No. 400 of 2012 National legal services authority
  • K S Radhakrishnan
Radhakrishnan KS. In the supreme court of India Civil original jurisdiction Writ petition (civil) No. 400 of 2012 National legal services authority. Judgment 2013. Available from: http://www.prsindia.org/ uploads/media/Transgender/Transgender%20rights%20case%20 (NALSA%20 vs.%20UoI).pdf. [Last accessed 2017 Oct 30].