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Transgenders are part of our Society

Transgender people in India should be able to live with dignity and nondiscrimination, and have equal access to education, employment, and health services.

This research paper focuses on the Atrocities faced by Transgenders in India especially focusing upon their situation in Jammu and Kashmir. In recent years in India, considerable progress has been made to protect the rights of transgender people, Human Rights Watch said. In 2014, the Supreme Court in NALSA v. India ruled that transgender people should be recognized as a third gender and enjoy all fundamental rights, while also being entitled to specific benefits in education and employment. In 2018, in a historic decision upholding privacy and non-discrimination of LGBT persons, the Supreme Court struck down the colonial-era sodomy law that criminalized consensual same-sex relations.

There is no Transgender welfare Board therefore the problems of the third gender remain unattended. They face harassment from multi-dimensional sources, from parents, teachers, peers, society and it includes each sphere of their lives. There is an immense need to address their problems in order to make them fully functional human beings by guaranteeing and safeguarding their rights.

For mainstreaming of gender and promotion of social justice every section of the society be it men, women or other gender has to be equally developed. Today, researchers and advocates support an eco developmental approach for exploring transgender identity development. This framework is not limited by what is socially expected; instead, researchers may consider multiple interacting systems of biology and environment, i.e school, house, etc.

Transgender Community In Kashmir

As per census 2011 of India the number of transgender in Jammu & Kashmir is 4,137 in which 487 are in the age group of (0-6) years of age, whereas 207 are SC & 385 are belonging to ST category. The literacy rate of transgender in Jammu & Kashmir is 49.20 percent. Transgender face intense discrimination in the Kashmir Valley, a predominantly Muslim region whose people once celebrated what these people now call the third gender.

Rejected by their families and still unrecognized by the distinct gender, they continue to fight the war of survival. They continue to struggle and fight for their rights which are continued to get violated. When fundamental rights stand fundamental to all the citizens living in this country, then why our society fails to accept them, fails to stand for them? Why our statutory provisions does not contain explicit provisions for the wrongs done against these trans-genders.

They are at vulnerable stance, as they continued to get sexually harassed, bullied, mental abuses etc. In March 2000 Transgenders were factored into the Governments policy making for the first time when they were named as a target group for a breakthrough de-addiction programme. Only 46% of transgender are literate as compared to 74% literacy rate amongst the general population.

Transgender are asking the government to help them achieve financial independence, and they are calling on Muslim leaders to foster the bedrock Islamic virtues of tolerance and acceptance. As far back as the 16 century, transgender enjoyed a special respect in Jammu and Kashmir State (Dabla) They were considered caretakers, trusted messengers and skilled entertainers during the Mughal period. But today they have to face discrimination.

Today most Kashmiris consider any form of gender reassignment unacceptable. Families reject transgender for fear of being shunned by society, and society scorns them because their families have turned them away. Regardless of how transgender identify themselves, the Indian government � and its Kashmiri administrators � record their sex as the one they had at birth. (Dabla).

The prevalence of transgender will not become apparent to Kashmir's until their rights are protected, they are a minority group like disabled people, but still there are no legal provisions for them. People in Kashmir don't support transgender they are considered abnormal and eventually become outsiders. Society assumes that they are only meant for matchmaking or singing and dancing. Due to bullying and a hostile environment, they are forced to leave their studies, which make them ineligible for white-collar jobs," (Bund).

In order to be fit psychologically, sexually and socially at the certain instances it becomes mandatory for them to invent such support systems where they can vent off their repressed feelings. They leave families and start living on rent. In order to be fit psychologically, sexually and socially at the certain instances it becomes mandatory for them to invent such support systems where they can vent off their repressed feelings. They leave families and start living on rent. Getting an accommodation on rent for transgender in Kashmir is not easy either. Rarely house owners provide them rooms only if they behave 'properly'.

Problems Faced By Transgender Community

Transgender people belong to the marginalized group of the society that faces legal, social, cultural and economic difficulties.

Some of the problems include:
  • Transgender people are economically deprived & considered as weaker sections of the society.
  • They are being harassed & beaten up to live inside the walls of the house in order to save the respect of their family members when their identity is being known.
  • They are facing discrimination in terms education, employment, entertainment and justice etc.
  • Like normal people, they are not entitled to take education in schools and colleges. Even in terms of education, they are treated differently.
  • These people are treated badly or oppressed by people in power. They are prone to struggle for social justice because of their identity as Transgender.
  • Old age financial insecurity.
  • Transgender people have resulted in mental health issues like depression, suicidal tendencies, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rights Of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014

In February 2014, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgement, paving the way for enshrining the rights of transgenders in law. The apex court deemed that individuals had the right to the self-identification of their sexual orientation. It ruled that the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution are equally applicable to transgenders who constitute the third gender.

The judgement also called for affirmative action in education, primary health care, and that transgenders be identified as beneficiaries of social welfare schemes. The blueprint for transgender rights legislation draws from the court's directives.

The first effort at framing legislation for the same was made in December 2014 by Tiruchi Siva, a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Rajya Sabha MP. The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, was introduced as a Private Member's Bill in the Rajya Sabha by Mr. Siva. It was unanimously passed in the Upper House but was never debated in the Lok Sabha.

The Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha had many progressive clauses including the creation of institutions like the national and State commissions for transgenders, as well as transgender rights courts. These remedial measures to prevent sexual discrimination were done away with when the government drafted The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015.

Despite these notable omissions, the skeletal framework of the draft Bill borrowed heavily from its predecessor. After consultation with legal experts and transgender activists, the 2015 draft Bill was sent to the Law Ministry. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2016 after considerable revision to the 2015 draft.

On 24th April 2016, a private members bill entitled The Rights of Transgender Persons Bills, 2014 was passed by the Rajya Sabha and introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Bill deals with the different aspects like Social inclusion of Transgender, their rights and entitlements, financial and legal aids, education and skill development and prevention of abuse, violence and exploitation of Transgender.

Some Key Suggestions
  • There should be the Transgender welfare board in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Sensitize police about the human rights abuse of the transgender community and take appropriate steps to stop abuse, and consider creation of special cell for this purpose
  • Train and sensitize public health care providers on sex reassignment surgery and other health issues and provide community friendly services free of stigma and discrimination.
  • Government should formulate such programs which will ensure the social, economic and political rehabilitation of transgender.
  • Prevention of trauma, violence, physical torture, emotional harassment by society Awas yojna benefit should be extended to Transgender Community.
  • There should be compulsory sexuality/gender education at grade school and at college level. School syllabus must be modified to include education on LGBT persons. Introduction of scholarships for gender non-conforming persons at state and national
  • Address the social needs of Transgender including housing and employment needs.

In spite of various hardships in day-to-day life, the transgender community has enormous needs to be described further and strengthened. Moreover the factors (protective factors such as acceptance, social support, education, employment, health-care services, and social inclusion) which facilitate them to develop their life. Constitution of India framed a well established fundamental rights related to transgender they are entitled to the four important provisions of Fundamental Rights.

Right to Equality under Article 14. Article 15 speaks about the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of religion, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 21, ensures right to privacy and personal dignity to all the citizens. Transgender people are called ―laanch in Kashmir which in itself is stigmatization and a ground of discrimination. They face unfairness in every aspect of life be it employment, legal recognition, access to social resources including decent life standard and education.

For all of them the struggle usually starts from an early phase. The non conformity, to their prescribed gender roles makes them vulnerable and often leads to verbal and corporeal abuse at the hands of their parents, siblings and other family members. The intimidating environment even prevails at schools and other educational institutions which almost certainly force them to leave studies in order to avoid the mocking and harassment which leads to the mental trauma.

Thus there is an immense need to intervene at individual, society, community and policy level to safeguard the rights of transgender and have a great responsibility to initiate appropriate interventions.

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