"I was a normal child, but it's the world that made me feel different."

-Laxmi Narayan (TG)

The legislation is the 'murder of gender justice,' said one activist. Before debating the topic, we should think about the people who were said to be protected under this Act. Why India's transgender people were protesting against a bill that claims to protect their rights. Does anyone protest against the bill, which is said to protect them and make them recognized in a society? Or do the people will madly protest against the government even after mere satisfaction? The answer to this is "The Act was a far cry from the Supreme Court's landmark 2014 judgment in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (or NALSA)" was complimented for its gradual stance on gender self-determination.


Basically, any opinion on the Third Gender must commence with the distinction between the much-ignored under-played difference between the concepts of "gender identity‟ and "sexual orientation.‟[1] Gender identity refers to a person's deeply felt internal and individual gender experience, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth. Sexual orientation, on the other hand, refers to the individual's enduring physical, romantic, and emotional attraction to another person. Both of these are integral to one's personality and are aspects of self-determination, dignity, and freedom. Without knowing all these, they are desperately separating the transgenders. As humans, we understand a little about our complex bodies, even with the greatest medical science. There are a lot more than two genders. More commonly, it is specified and surveyed in a study that there are at least 63 gender combinations because gender is more specific than normal genital attached human organs to our body.[2]


The Hindu concept of 'ardhanarishwara'--an androgynous deity that comprises the merged forms of Shiva, the destroyer, and his female consort, forms the religious foundation for the acceptance of transgender people in India.[3] But this pious underpinning of the lives of transgenders has subsumed their demands to be regarded as full citizens of modern democracy, transgender representatives allege. People with a narrow mind will accept the same concept in god but not practically with fellow people, family, or in society.


We agree that the transgenders Act 2019 came into force and that talks about prohibition of any kind of discrimination based on their gender, right to be recognized in a society, the procedure for getting a gender certificate and that can also be revised, welfare measures, obligations for the establishments, education, social security, health of TG and more specifically they said about National council for TG and also finally about offenses and penalties for any non-compliance of this Act.[4]

As I mentioned, the Act narrates, but there is no practical effect on the society till now. Once the Act is published, it should satisfy the people to whom it was made, and on the other side, the government should take steps to make the society act according to the Act. So it lacks both sides, there arises a socio-legal problem, which plays a major role. They are so many critics for the published Act.[5] This Act is a direct violation of NALSA. NALSA affirmed the right to self-determination of gender as male, female, or TG without the mandate of any medical certificate or sex reassignment surgery, but the Act makes it mandatory. The major flaw of the Act is that it does not provide a clause for reservation of education and employment for Transgender. This is obviously against the mandate in NALSA, which stated that the state must take necessary action to treat them as socially, economically, and educationally backward classes of citizens, and that extends all kinds of reservations.

Basically, the Act adds several legislative layers that a transgender person will have to handle. When the Act makes the certificate of gender as a mandate, it should also mention the cost. The Act is silent on whether the sex-reassignment surgery cost is free or subsidized cost. Moreover, the Act prohibits discrimination, but it does not cover the range of violations, especially it fails to define the act which constitutes sexual abuse that TG faces. The Act does not confront the relation of civil rights such as marriage, civil partnership, adoption and property rights, and social security and pension, thereby continuing to bankrupt transgender persons of their fundamental rights and the constitutional guarantee provided by the Supreme Court in NALSA.

The Act, in its present form, pursues to propel them into darkness, making a travesty of their struggles by making them again weak to secure them their constitutional rights. Overall, the Act which came into force in this context creates apathy, neglect, and secrecy. A series of betrayal of security and complexity of the law would do nothing for the Transgender community and would rather snippet away the minimum that already existed.[6] Overall the Act is supposed to be the result of the decree of the SC in the 2014 NALSA case, which mandates the central and state government to ensure legal recognition as a backward class and effective measures and policies for their welfare but what actually happened is the Act has left more questions unanswered than the concerns it aims to addresses.


A separate select committee should be formed, and the Act should be revised so that we will have a certain more specific amendment that is actually required. "Transgender people in India should be able to live with dignity and non-discrimination, and have equal access to education, employment, and health services," Ganguly said. "To enact a law that meets international standards, it's critical that parliament fully bring transgender people into the conversation." The only trust for Transgender Persons is that the separate committee for review the current Act, which is supposed to provide the institutional framework for implementing the Act, might allow more latitude for incorporating genuine demands. Otherwise, this Act might well be a glove that ill fits the hand it was tailored for.

There's gender in your brain and a gender in your body. For 99 percent of people, those things are in alignment. For transgender people, they're mismatched. That's all it is. It's not complicated, it's not a neurosis. It's a mix-up. Its's a birth defect, like a cleft palate.

-Chaz Bono


Harini Palanisamy

VIT ( Vellore Institute of Technology) University Chennai





[5], Speech by Prof. K. Anbazhagan, Minister for Finance, State of Tamil Nadu, in the Legislative Assembly, dated 20th March 2008. Last accessed on 1st April 2016