[This article was authored by Indra Kumar Lahoti & Nitisha Agrawal, students at Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. It scrutinizes the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and provides an insight into the violence and discrimination faced by transgender persons.]
In the theatre of life, without possession of the attribute of identity with dignity, an entity may be allowed entry to the centre stage but would be characterised as a spineless entity or, for that matter, projected as a ruling king without the sceptre. The transgender community not only faces discrimination on the basis of gender, but also on the basis of class and social order, making it a long- spurned issue in Indian society. There has been a long ongoing battle to give transgender persons recognition and bring them at par with the society. This paper will scrutinise the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and give a glimpse of the horrendous variants of violence and discrimination faced by transgender persons. This paper will further discuss how gender identity and manifestation of that identity is a basic human right and no one, neither society nor the State has any right to interfere with that identity. Recognition of one’s gender expression lies at the core of the fundamental right to dignity. The Act has glaring contradictions with regard to the socio-political environment where the ‘third gender’ is situated and it blatantly violates the NALSA judgment which was a watershed moment for this marginalised community. The paper will further discuss how the Act fails in providing adequate opportunities and representation in the sphere of education and public employment. In addition, the paper also delves into the different social challenges to effective implementation of reservation from within and outside the transgender community. Lastly, the paper will scrutinise how the State has yet again escaped from its duty to provide transgender people civic rights like marriage and inheritance rights.