CHAPTER-1INTRODUCTION Theterm transgender person is generally used to describe those who transgresssocial gender norms. The contemporary term “transgender” arose in mid 1990sfrom the grassroots community to designate gender different people. Transgenderis an umbrella term to signify individuals to defy rigid, binary genderconstruction and who express or present a breaking and blurring of culturallyprevalent stereotypical gender roles. Transgender people may live full or parttime in the gender role opposite to their biological sex (UNDP, 2010).Transgender are variedly called in different places though they are essentiallycross dressers.
Sometimes they are also referring to as “transvestites'” “dragqueens” or “drag king”. In Manipur they are identified as “Nupi Sabi” or”Homo”. In Delhi they are labeled as “kinnars”. The transgender were sociallydisadvantaged, economically and politically disfranchised.Humanrights are the basic rights and freedom which are guaranteed to a human byvirtue of him being a human which can neither be created nor can be abrogatedby any government. It includes the right to life, liberty, equality, dignityand freedom of thought and expression. The right to choose one gender identityis an essential part to lead a life with dignity which again falls under thearticle 21.
Determining the right to personal freedom and self-determination,the court observe that” the gender to which a person belongs is to bedetermined by the person concerned”. The curt has given the people of India theright to gender identity.Transgenderpeople are people who have a gender identity or gender expression that differsfrom their assigned sex. Transgender includes people who belonged to a thirdgender. The term transgender is defined very broadly to include cross dressersregardless of their gender identity.
Transgender people may be identifying as heterosexual,homosexual, bisexual, asexual etc. The definition of transgender includes”People who were assigned a sex usually at birth and based on their genitals,but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of them” Transgendercommunity comprises of Hijras, eunuchs, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas,Shiv-Shakthis etc. Eunuchs have existed since 9th century BC. The word hasroots in Greek and means “Keeper of the bed” castrated men were inpopular demand to guard women quarters of royal households. Hinduism, Jainismand Buddhism – and it can be inferred that Vedic culture recognized threegenders.
The Vedas (1500 BC – 500 BC) describe individuals as belonging to oneof three separate categories, according to one’s nature or prakrti. These arealso spelled out in the Kama Sutra (c. 4th century AD) and elsewhere aspumsprakrtistri-prakrti (female-nature), and tritiya-prakrti (thirdnature). Varioustexts suggest that third sex individuals were well known in pre-modern India,and included male bodied or female-bodied people as well as intersexual, andthat they can often be recognized from childhood. A third sex is also discussedin ancient Hindu law, medicine, linguistics and astrology. The foundationalwork of Hindu law, the Manu Smriti (200 BC – 200 AD) explains the biologicalorigins of the three sexes: “A male child is produced by a greaterquantity of male seed, a female child by the prevalence of the female; if bothare equal, a third-sex child or boy and girl twins are produced; if either areweak or deficient in quantity, a failure of conception results. Indian linguistPatanjali’s work on Sanskrit grammar, the Mahabhaya (200 BC), states thatSanskrit’s three grammatical genders are derived from three natural genders.The earliest Tamil grammar, the Tolkappiyam (3rd century BC) also refers tohermaphrodites as a third “neuter” gender (in addition to a femininecategory of unmasculine males).
In Vedic astrology, the nine planets are eachassigned to one of the three genders; the third gender, tritiya-prakrti, isassociated with Mercury, Saturn and (in particular) Ketu. In the Puranas, thereare also references to three kinds of devas of music and dance: apsaras(female), gandharvas (male) and kinnars (neuter). EVOLUTIONOF TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY IN INDIA: Transgender persons had been part of Indiansociety for centuries.
There was historical evidence of recognition of “thirdsex” or persons not confirm to male or female gender in near the beginningwritings of ancient India. The concept of “tritiyaprakriti” or “napumsaka” hadbeen an integral part of the Hindu mythology, folklore, epic and early Vedicand Puranic literatures. The term “napumsaka” had been used to denote theabsence of procreative ability, presented by signifying difference frommasculine and female markers. Thus, some of the early texts extensively dealtwith issues of sexuality and the idea of third gender which was an establishedthought therein. In fact, the Jain text even mentions the concept of”psychological sex”, which emphasized the psychological make-up of anindividual, distinct from their sexual characteristics. Lord Rama, in the epicRamayana, was leaving in the forest upon being banished from the kingdom for 14years, turns around to his followers and asks all the ‘men and women’ to returnto the city.
Among his followers, the hijras alone did feel bound by thisdirection and decide to stay with him. Impressed with their loyalty, Ramasanctioned them the power to confer blessings on people on auspicious occasionslike child birth and marriage, and also at inaugural functions which, it wassupposed to set the stage for the custom of badhai in which hijras sing, danceand confer blessings. Aravan, the son of Arjuna and Nagakanya in Mahabharata,offer to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali to ensure the victory of the Pandavas inthe Kurukshetra war, the only condition that he made was to spend the lastnight of his life in marriage. Since no woman was willing to marry one who wasdoomed to be killed, Krishna assumes the form of a beautiful woman calledMohini and married him. HISTORICAL EVOLUTION OF TRANSGENDER COMMUNITYIN INDIA Mughal Period Hijras played a famous role in the royal courts of theIslamic world, particularly in the Ottoman empires and the Mughal rule in theMedieval India. They rose to well-known positions as political advisors,administrators, generals as well as guardians of the harems.
Hijras were considerclever, trustworthy and fiercely loyal and had free access to all spaces andsections of population, thereby playing a crucial role in the politics ofempire building in the Mughal era. The Hijras also occupied high positions inthe Islamic religious institutions, especially in guarding the holy places ofMecca and Medina the person of trust, they were able to influence statedecisions and also received large amount of money to have been closest to kingsand queens. Thus hijra frequently state the role of their status in thatperiod. British Period In the beginning of the British period in Indiansubcontinent hijra used to accept protections and benefits by some Indianstates through entry into the hijra community. Furthermore, the benefitsincorporated the provision of land, rights of food and smaller amount of moneyfrom agricultural households in exact area which were ultimately removedthrough British legislation as because the land was not inherited through bloodrelations. CRIMINALIZATION UNDER THE COLONIAL RULEThrough the onset of colonial rule from the 18th century onwards, the situationchanged drastically.
Accounts of early European travelers showed that they wererepulsed by the sight of Hijras and could not comprehend why they were given somuch respect in the royal courts and other institutions. In the second half ofthe 19th century, the British colonial administration vigorously sought tocriminalize the hijra community and to deny them the civil rights. Hijras wereconsidered to be separate caste or tribe in different parts of India by thecolonial administration. The Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, this included all hijrawho were concerned in kidnapping and castrating children and dressed like womento dance in public places. The punishment for such activities was up to twoyears imprisonment and a fine or both. This pre-partition history influencesthe vulnerable circumstances of hijra in this contemporary world. CRIMINALIZATION AND MARGINALIZATION DURINGPOST-INDEPENDENCE ERA However the Act was repealed in 1952 and its legacycontinues and many local laws reflected the prejudicial attitudes againstcertain tribes, including against Hijras. Recently, the Karnataka Police Actwas amended in 2012 to “provide for registration and surveillance of Hijras whoindulged in kidnapping of children, unnatural offences and offences of thisnature” (Section 36A), in a similar vein to the Criminal Tribes Act,1871,According to Section 36A, Karnataka Police Act, 1964, Power to regulateeunuchs.
Historical evolution of transgender community in India MUHGAL PERIOD(positions as political advisors, administrators, coolest to kings and queens).BRITISH PERIOD: (the provision of land, rights of food and some amount of agriculturehouseholds) in contemporary times (Supreme Court – third sex, LGBT rights andsocial procation of welfare policy and schemes for transgender people)criminalization and marginalization post independence (the criminal tribes act,1871 and section 36a) 1.preparation and preservation of a register of the names and places of residenceof all eunuchs residing in the area under his charge and who are reasonablysuspected of kidnapping or emasculating boys or of committing unnaturaloffences or any other offences or abetting the commission of such offences. 2. Piling objections by aggrieved eunuchs tothe inclusion of his name in the register and for removal of his name from theregister of reasons to be recorded in writing. CONTEMPORARY PERIOD the transgender in Indiais possibly the most well known and popular third type of sex in the modernworld. The Supreme Court declared for transgender as third gender. The thirdgenders in India have emerged as a strong faction in the LGBT rights.
In thecontemporary time the Government of India introduced so many welfare policy andschemes such as, census, documentation, issuing of the citizenship ID Cards,issuing passports, social-economical development and constitutional safeguardsfor the transgender people. TheMahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a majorinitiative of the 11thFive Year Plan period which brought employmentopportunities for transgender people. The Ministry of Housing and Urban PovertyAlleviation is the National Urban Livelihood Mission and Healthcare facilities.The social, economic, political transformation, Housing, legal measures, PoliceReforms, legal and constitutional safeguards to prevent human rights violationsof the transgender community and institutional mechanisms to address specificconcerns of transgender people.InManipur the north east state of India, mainstream society does not acceptbeyond the male, female gender norm. Those who live beyond this continuum aresubject to discrimination, harassments and abuses. Such negative attitude arisingfrom the society is happening at work places, public places, and educationalinstitutions and even in the respective families and neighborhoods. Suchharassment and violence result in emotional and psychological traumas and thenimpedes the lives of transgender community indeed.
It is very clear that mostpeople from the larger community of the society does not know and has not fullyunderstood about the transgender community with regards to: who they are, whythey are, the way they are, what are background scenario of transgender. Onthe other hand, this socially stigmatized and marginalized group has beencontributing something to Manipur society in areas likes make up, designing,art and culture etc. They are very genuine and excellent in these fields. Notonly these, but also there are some person who have maintained high status,themselves being intellectuals and social minded. Nerveless, they disclosetheir sexual identity and they cannot openly say they are transgender.
It isbecause of the stigma and discrimination imposed to transgender community. Itwill be very pertinent to be noted that the main cause of the aforesaiddisturbances and awful reaction being faced by transgender is due to the deeplyrooted gender bias and gender stereotypical norms of the society. In the society, there is a social compulsionand blind that these persons who were born as male, should conduct certainactivities and follow the set role and responsibilities expected out of a malemember in the society i.e.
marry a woman and lead the family, so on and forth.But in reality, most of the transgender community cannot follow this rigidgender norm of the society as it is basic nature in contrast. When they toattempt it, they faced a lot of problem in lives. CHAPTER-2LITERATURE REVIEWUnderstanding the HijrasThe Urdu and Hindi word “hijra” mayalternately be romanised as hijira, hijda, hijada, hijara, hijrah and ispronounced “heejra” or “heejda”. An older name for hijrasis kinnar, which is used by some hijra groups as a more respectable and formalterm. An abusive slang for hijra in Hindi is chhakka .
The primary culturaldefinition of hijras, however is that they begin life as men, incomplete men.The most obvious expression of hijras as women is in their dress. Wearingfemale attire and their characteristic clapping of hands is an essential anddefining characteristic. Hijras also take female names when they join thecommunity and they use female kinship terms for each other such as “sister,””aunty” and “grandmother”. Their language consists of the use of feminineexpressions and intonations.According to UNDP (united nation developmentprogramme) hijra is an umbrella term for all sexual minorities. It states thathijra cultures are India’s answer to support systems for sexual minorities.
Another way of understanding hijras is byunderstanding how they are different from eunuchs, transvestites, transsexuals,homosexuals, bisexuals, intersexes and hermaphrodites. All these terms appearto mean the same, but in fact they do not. . HIJRAS IN INDIA The People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka(PUCL-K), published a monograph on the Human Rights Violations against theTransgender Community mapping “the structural violence, the use of force bystate and civil society actors and agencies, and of the images of emancipatorstruggles” of the transgender community. The report sheds light on themainstream society’s deep rooted fear of sexual and gender non-conformity,which manifests itself in the refusal of basic citizenship rights to thesecommunities. The report also documented the brutal stories of abuse and sexualviolence which negates the claim of equal citizenship and protection for all.It has classified the societal violence against hijras and kothi sex workers onthe basis of sites where the violence occurs as well as the context of theviolence under the following heads: 1. Harassment in public places, 2.
Harassment at home, 3. Harassment in work place, 4. Abuse/Harassment at policestations, and 5. Rape in jails. The narratives indicate that police constantlydegrade hijras by asking them sexually implicit questions, touching theirbreasts, stripping them, and in some cases raping them. With or without theelement of physical violence, such actions constitute a violation of theintegrity and privacy of the very sexual being of a person. On the basis ofother narratives, report also analyses how the institutions of the family, thelaw, the medical establishment, and the media are extremely intolerant togender non-conformity and are actually complicit in the pervasive violence anddiscrimination which hijras are subject to.
A study conducted in Tamil Nadu on the discriminationfaced by hijras in sex work, in the Indian health-care system highlighted thatthe health care professionals do not know anything about them and do not treatthem like other patients. They are often addressed in a disrespectful mannerand the staffs frequently use male pronouns which they find very offensive.When the transgender (called as Aravanis in Tamil Nadu) are reluctant to showtheir ano-rectal areas, they are subjected to abusive language from theexamining physician or the assisting Para medical staff. They are admitted to themale ward of the Sexually Transmitted Infections irrespective of theircastration status or cross-dressing. Many of them are forced to wear male orambiguous dress when they are in the male ward. They are also mocked andverbally abused by the co-patients in the ward. Some patients by theirattendants even sexually harass them and usually other patients and ward staffdo not defend them in such situations.
. Hijra Population The census of Indiadoes not list hijras separately; they are usually counted as men, but uponrequest they may be counted as women. It is thus impossible to say withcertainty how many hijras there are in India. Large cities like Bombay or Delhimay have many hijras living in twenty or thirty localities; the nationalestimate may be very high.
According to the article “The life of Transgender inIndia” (November 27, 2015) by Athreye. In this article the writer clearlymentioned about the various form of problems faced by the transgender communitylike the transgender people are shunned by family and society alike, they arerestricted access to education, health service and public spaces, they wereexcluded from effectively participating in social and cultural life, politicsand decision making processed have been out of their reach, transgender peoplehave difficulty in exercising their basic civil rights, reports of harassment,violence, denial of services, and unfair treatment against transgender personhas come to light. The Supreme Court has given the right to transgender which includes,right to personal liberty and dignity, freedom of expression, right toeducation and empowerment, right against violence, discrimination andexploitation and right to work. Moreover every person has right to decide hisor her gender expression and identity. According to the article’The Socioeconomic Status oftrandgender people in India’ by ankur gupta and Ananth Govind Rajan, aug 25,2016Hijras are treated as social outcasts in modernIndia. However, they form an ancient social group that has been recognizedfor roughly 4,000 years and depicted in India’s literature and templesculptures. Unfortunately, the status of transgender women in Indiadeteriorated during the colonial period, when several laws criminalizing themwere enforced. Their status has barely improved since India’s independence in1947.
Indeed, the modern-day Hijra experience is predominantly one ofsocial inequality. Data suggest that the most common livelihoods for Hijrasinclude begging, dancing, and engaging in sex work. Multiple reports indicatethat the transgender community in India suffers from higher rates of HIVinfection, and several reports also suggest that transgender people experiencepolice harassment.
Several fundamental policies and cultural changes wouldempower the transgender community in India. On the policy level, lawsguaranteeing the Hijras’ rights would serve to improve their safety, andaffirmative action programs could help lift their socioeconomic status. In bothof these regards, we support The Right for Transgender Persons Bill of 2014, aversion of which was approved by the Union Cabinet of the Indian government onJuly 2016.
It declares certain forms of oppression or discrimination to bepunishable offenses by law, including forcing transgender people to beg,denying them access to public places, or forcing them to leave their houses orvillages. Further, it seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code to include sexualoffenses against transgender people. From an education standpoint, the proposedlaw also envisions the creation of a national council that would help providetransgender students with scholarships, textbooks, and college accommodations.However, despite its meaningful strengths, there are several criticaldeficiencies in the bill. For one, it follows a regressive and very narrowdefinition of transgender people, defining them as a combination of female andmale or neither wholly female nor wholly male. In addition, it relies heavilyon bureaucratic processes such as appointing a “District Screening Committee”to issue transgender “certificates,” and it does not call for community inputto create the national council.
It is believed that although the bill containssome positive elements, it still lacks the provisions required to bring abouttrue change and that lawmakers will involve input from the affected communityand its activists. In addition, recognizes to help in lifting up thetransgender community and broaden the opportunities open to its members, it iscritical to incite a paradigm shift with society at large. The Indiangovernment and NGOs can launch advertising campaigns in newspapers andtelevision channels to raise awareness about the day-to-day struggles in thetransgender community. Similar campaigns in India have successfully raised awarenessabout female child education, consumer rights, HIV/AIDS, and various othersocial issues. These campaigns could help eradicate the prevalent stigmasagainst transgender people.
In a similar vein, realistic portrayals oftransgender characters in popular movies and theatre will emphasize theirexistence as an integral part of society. School education can also play animportant role by including content that discusses stories andindividuals from within the transgender community, in order to sensitizeyoung students and remove biases at an early stage. Fortunately, recentdevelopments in the last couple years have signalled progress. An IndianSupreme Court ruling allowed for the use of “third-gender” as an option onofficial paperwork. The Supreme Court also urged the Indian government toconsider transgender people as socially and economically disadvantaged, so thatthey can be offered benefits under India’s extensive affirmative actionprograms. More recently, India received its first transgender mayor of a city,first transgender police officer, and first transgender director of aninstitute. The metro rail authority in the southern Indian city of Kochidecided to reserve some customer care and cleaning jobs for the transgendercommunity, a move welcomed by many. This article offers a helpful perspectiveon the state of the Hijras, and that some readers are motivated to get involvedwith governmental bodies and NGOs working to improve the status of transgenderpeople in India and elsewhere in the world.
With a holistic approach targetingboth the societal mindsets that lead to discrimination as well as the effectsof discrimination, the living conditions of India’s Hijra community coulddrastically improve. As individuals, believe that our greatest contribution tothis cause is to stand up and speak whenever societal norms do not live up toour morals