Awareness Of Rights Of The Third Gender: Need Of The Hour In India
The famed "Youtube vs. TikTok" discussion among the youth presented a
crucial topic about our sensitivity to the "third gender." We may have
progressed, but our attitude toward the third gender remains brutal. We still
have diverse perspectives on them. We frequently hear comments like "chhakka hai
kya?" "hijra hai kya?" "Talli bajayega," etc. directed at young boys or adult
males who do not act manly enough in our daily lives. Isn't it past time for us
to take a breather and recognise that such casual remarks sow the seeds of
prejudice and partial hatred toward the third gender community?
Since time immemorial, the patriarchy has instilled in us certain beliefs, such
as associating masculinity with strength and femininity with sensitivity. The
result of this irrational division is that we now regard everyone as different
and inferior to us. Even in the progressive world, we treat third
gender/transgender populations inhumanely. Instead of seeing them as
individuals, we regard them as a source of shame and bad luck. Despite the fact
that their legal position has improved, society's attitude has not changed.
According to Chaz Bono, an American writer, musician, and actor, - "There's a
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. It's a birth
defect, like a cleft palate.''
It is vital to have a basic grasp of what gender is and how and by whom it is
determined in order to identify or characterise who is a transgender person. To
answer the topic of how and by whom this gender is determined, it's important to
remember that none of us are born with a gender; rather, gender is assigned to
each of us depending on the type of primary sexual traits or external genitalia
we have. As a result, a newborn with genitalia that resembles a "vagina" is
assigned gender female at birth, whereas an infant with genitalia that resembles
a "penis" is assigned gender male at birth.
After establishing that gender is assigned, we must recognise that the gender
assigned at birth may or may not correspond to a person's conception of their
own gender as they grow older. As a result, some people may grow up feeling at
ease and aligned with their 'felt' or personal sense of gender and the gender
given to them, referred to as 'cisgender.' And there are those whose own/inner
sense of gender differs from the gender assigned to them; these people are
referred to as 'transgender.' In simple terms, a transgender person is someone
whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex assigned to them at
Cisgender and transgender people have one thing in common: they are both born as
human beings with human rights. Despite this, society considers the third gender
community to be inferior, and discriminates against them since they do not
adhere to "gender standards." The patriarchy is not the only one to blame;
Bollywood also plays a role in degrading transgender people's status.
Transgender characters have been mocked in the majority of movies for years, and
very few art pieces demonstrate respect toward them. We preach that we are all
God's creation, but we have reservations about respecting transsexual people.
Isn't this a case of hypocrisy?
People of the third gender had a different standing in ancient times, and they
were respected. The concept of 'tritiyaprakriti' or 'napumsaka' is found in
Hindu mythology, folklore, epics, and early Vedic and Puranic literature. The
term 'napumsaka' has been used to describe the lack of procreative aptitude, as
shown by disparities in masculine and female creators. When Lord Rama was
residing in the wilderness in the epic Ramayana, he asked all of his disciples
to return to the city. The hijras were the only ones among his followers who
felt obligated to stay with him. Because of their devotion, the Lord granted
them the authority to bestow blessings on the people on auspicious events like
childbirth, marriage, and inaugural functions, which were designed to set the
stage for the Bahai habit of hijras singing, dancing, and bestowing blessings.
Transgender people's status has evolved over time. They were important in the
Mughal sultanate. They were entrusted with guarding and protecting the palaces
of women. They had powerful positions and were held in high regard. During the
British Raj, however, attitudes regarding them shifted dramatically. Under the
Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, the British classified the hijras as a 'branch of
public decency' and classified them as a 'criminal tribe' or 'criminal caste.'
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code has been used to harass and physically harm
people of the third gender. As a result, the third gender community's civil
rights and standing were stripped away. Discrimination on the basis of race,
gender, and economic status worked as catalysts in isolating them from society.
They had a hard time getting jobs and were frequently exploited as a result of
The challenges that the third gender frequently faces, such as discrimination or
outcasting, employment, education, toilet facilities, and so on, are widespread,
mostly because we do not recognise their requirements and do not make an attempt
to comprehend their perspective, desire, and mental condition. Their new status
as subjects of the British Raj has influenced our perceptions of them. Our
current ridicule of them is sufficient to demonstrate our lack of respect for
them. The attitude of society toward these people is the sole reason why
third-gender parents choose to abandon their children when they are young.
It's no wonder that a third gender youngster is left to fend for himself in a
country where a girl child is considered a burden. 'What would others think?' is
a fear that many people have. These youngsters are pushed into the shadows,
which leads to a terrible cycle of exploitation. The plight of their
impoverished lives will endure unless we stop treating them as a disgrace.
Though the Supreme Court's decision in NALSA vs. UOI offers persons the ability
to legally recognise themselves as a 'third gender,' transgender people have the
freedom to select their gender and identity.
The judiciary has made a tremendous effort to provide opportunity and equality
to these people, as well as dictating to the federal and state governments to
implement more schemes for their welfare. However, this isn't enough; we still
have a long way to go. We need to be more proactive in our approach. Our laws
need to be updated. Personal laws, for example, limit marriage to a man and a
woman. A woman can be a victim exclusively under the IPC provisions of the rape
offence. If we want to live in a gender-neutral society, we must recognise the
rights of transgender people as well as men and women.
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