Paving the way to bring equality among all individuals, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted legal recognition to transgenders or eunuchs as third category of gender.
It also directed the Centre and all states to treat them as socially and educationally backward classes to extend reservation in admission in educational institutions and for public appointments.
The apex court directed governments to take steps to remove problems faced by them such as fear, shame, social pressure, depression, and social stigma.
A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri held that discrimination faced by transgenders, also known as Hijras, Eunuchs, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv-Shakthis etc, is “unimaginable” and their rights have to be protected as they are citizens of the country and have all rights under the Constitution like the male or female have.
“Discrimination faced by this group in our society, is rather unimaginable and their rights have to be protected, irrespective of chromosomal sex, genitals, assigned birth sex or implied gender role.
“We, therefore, declare Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of our Constitution and the laws made by the Parliament and the State Legislature,” it said.
“Seldom, our society cares to realise the trauma and agony which members of the transgender community undergo, nor appreciates the innate feelings of the members of the transgender community, especially of those whose mind and body disown their biological sex.
“Our society often ridicules and abuses the transgender community and in public places like railway stations, bus stands, schools, workplaces, malls, theatres, hospitals, they are sidelined and treated as untouchables, forgetting the fact that the moral failure lies in the society’s unwillingness to contain or embrace different gender identities and expressions, a mindset which we have to change,” it said.