Meanwhile, when a community toilet was inaugurated by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for transgenders in the Mangalwara area of Bhopal, we are reminded that little has changed for the community even after so many years of Independence. I question why? Are we Indians still slaves of our narrow mentality?
At a time when the Constitution of the country tries to safeguard each and every human surviving on its land by ensuring justice, right to equality(article 14), prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth(Article 15), by ensuring right to privacy and personal dignity (Article 21), and also by prohibiting trafficking in human beings as beggars and other similar forms of forced labour(Article 23), it seems these laws in actuality remain the ‘ideal condition’ which clearly has a long way to go for their proper implementation.
The official count of the third gender in the country is 4.9 lakh but the actual number is estimated to be 6 to 7 times higher as the census counting happened much before the Supreme Court order gave legal recognition to the third gender.
While the rest of the country has a literacy rate of 74.04%, the transgender community reveals a literacy level as low as 46% and also only 38% of them avail jobs, most of which is forced, due to continuous harassment and misbehaviour to them.
Many of them are employed as sex workers due to the unemployment they face due to which almost 70-80% of them suffer from HIV AIDS.
Justice KS Radhakrishnan said, “recognition of the transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue”. While the exact number of the transgender community in India is still unknown, there surely is lack of people bothered about them!