An Unrecognised Gender Gains Recognition

  • Swagata Ghosh Associate Professor & Head Department of Political Science City College, 102/1 Raja Ram Mohan Sarani, Kolkata – 700009
Keywords: Transgender Community; Nirvana; Hermaphrodite; Bahuchura Mata; Supreme Court’s rulings


The Hijra or Eunuch refers to an individual who is transsexual or transgender. This group occupies the lower end of the Indian social hierarchy. Eunuchs can be emasculated men, non-emasculated men and intersexed persons,who have the physiological qualities of both sexes. The Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of a ‘Third Gender’, on 15th April, 2014, finally recognized the Hijras as legal citizens of India with the right to vote. A population count of the transgenders was impossible due to lack of recognition. According to a report in the Times of India on 30 May, 2014, the ‘third gender’ counts for 4.9 lakhs of Indian population. The transgender activists believe that the figures are inflated, although they are elated at the official recognition of the alternate genders.


The Hijras have been denied their rights as promised in the Indian Constitution which incorporates certain articles, not followed meticulously until the Supreme Court ruling on 15 April, 2014, that they themselves could enjoy equal opportunities in education, employment etc.


The Lok Sabha has passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016. It has also passed the Trafficking of persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. Both these Bills are pending  consideration in the Rajya Sabha, though the transgender community is not happy with the above Bills.

 The Hijras face a multiplicity of problems. They are denied various civic amenities and confront discriminations in the fields of education, employment and in other walks of life. It may be stated that a more sympathetic approach towards the ‘Third Gender’ can draw them out of their predicament and contribute positively towards society.


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