The Kerala High Court has ordered the National Cadet Corps (NCC) to allow enrolment of transgender persons in the NCC. The Court said that a transgender person has the right to be recognised as a transgender and a right to self-perceived gender identity. The law gives transgender persons the right to a life of dignity and right against discrimination. In this context, let us look at the trans-rights under Indian law.
Who is a transgender person?
A transgender person is any person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to them at birth. This includes:
- A trans-man or trans-woman (whether or not they have undergone Sex Reassignment Surgery, hormone therapy, laser therapy, etc.)
- A person with intersex variations
- Any genderqueer person
- People having socio-cultural identities such as kinner, hijra, aravani, jogta, etc.
Any transgender person can apply to the District Magistrate for issuing a certificate of identity as a transgender person. However, a parent or the guardian must make the application on behalf of minors.
Identity documents in India recognize the “third gender” (transgender) as a category. Commonly accepted government identity documents where options for Male, Female and Transgender are available include PAN Card, Aadhar Card, Passport and Voter ID.
If you come across any forms or procedures which do not give you this option, then you can:
- Ask the authorities what options you have
- Take the help of lawyers, NGO’s to assist you in obtaining the identification proof
- Carry a copy of proof of your gender identity.
No one can harass or touch you inappropriately just to verify your gender. If you face any form of harassment, you should file a complaint with the police and take the assistance of a lawyer during this process.
Discrimination against transgender persons
Government educational institutions must provide inclusive education and opportunities to transgender people. These educational institutions are not allowed to discriminate against transgender people and must treat them on an equal basis with other people.
No establishment should discriminate against any transgender person in matters relating to employment, including recruitment, promotion, etc. This applies to establishments including government bodies, companies, firms, cooperatives, associations, agencies, and other institutions.
Further, no person or establishment can discriminate against transgender people by denying them healthcare services. Transgender people have the right to access goods, accommodation, benefits, opportunities, etc. that are available to the public. Moreover, no one can deny a transgender person’s right of movement and right to occupy or purchase any property.
Punishment for offences
The law punishes anyone who:
- Forces or convinces a transgender person to get involved in forced or bonded labour.
- Obstructs a transgender person from having access to a public place to which other people have access.
- Forces or causes a transgender person to leave a household, village, or other place of residence.
- Injures or endangers the life, safety, health, or well-being of a transgender person.
The punishment for doing any of these acts is imprisonment of six months to two years, along with a fine.