Third Gender Rights: The Battle for Equality
The identity of an individual is often determined by the moral dictates and judgments of the society. However, individuals who seek to challenge these with their personalities, sexual orientations and inclinations are often shunned, abandoned and treated as the “other”. Abandoned by families and ridiculed by negative stigmas, they are usually left with no other option, than resorting to begging or singing in weddings, to make a living. Even with such vulnerability to harassment and violence, their agony mostly remains unnoticed. This only indicates the extent of helplessness and neglect this community faces. Various rights granted to this community are seldom potent and welfare measures hibernate on paper. Though the Indian Constitution makes mighty promises prohibiting discrimination of all sorts, there exists ambiguity concerning the concept of gender and the effects that such a prohibition can have on third gender rights. With the Supreme Court taking a proactive step in the NALSA judgment, there has been significant attention drawn towards transgender rights, which will be examined in the paper subsequently. Highlighting the historical growth of the transgender people and analyzing their position in jurisdictions across the world, this research paper aims to shed light on the murky world of suffering and discrimination this community has been relegated to in India. Despite some positive developments that have contributed to increased awareness and recognition of their plight, major problems still plague this section of the society. In addition to the social and legal position of the transgender community and the judicial treatment of the same, the paper also seeks to act as an expose when it comes to make-believe cases of being transgender.