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In this Guest Post, Akash Kori discusses the laws relating to the Third Gender and Homosexuality in India.


Transgender, is a term that defines a spectrum for people whose identity, expression, behaviour, or a general sense of self, does not conform to what is usually associated with the sex they were born. It is often said sex is a matter of the body, while gender occurs in the mind. Gender is an internal sense of being male, female, or other. People often use binary terms, for instance, masculine or feminine, to describe gender just as they do when referring to sex. But gender is more complex and encompasses more than just two possibilities. Gender is also influenced by culture, class, and race because behaviour, activities and attributes seen as appropriate in one society or group may be viewed otherwise in another.

On an estimate, India has about a million transgender humans. In India, a common term used to describe transgenders, transsexuals, crossdressers, eunuchs, and transvestites is Hijra. They live on the fringes of society, regularly in poverty, ostracised due to their gender identity. Maximum make a living through singing and dancing or by means of begging and prostitution. Due to the fact that hijras do not have reproduction capacities as either guys or ladies, they are neither men nor girls and claim to be an institutional “Third Gender”.

What does Transgender Mean?

Transgender is an umbrella term that incorporates more possibilities of a gender identity than just being binary. Gender identity refers to someone’s inner experience of being male, female or anything that they want to be identified as. Gender expression refers to the manner a person communicates gender to others through behaviour, apparel, hairstyles, voice or frame characteristics. “Trans” is every so often used as shorthand for ‘transgender’. Although, not all people whose appearance or behaviour is gender-nonconforming, will pick out as a transgender man or woman. In the current paradigm, the transgender human beings are talked about and there is a discourse about them in cultures and academia which are subsequently affecting people’s consciousness, understanding, and openness to transgender people.

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Transgenders in our society encompass all races and ethnicity, yet they’ve never enjoyed a first-rate lifestyle due to the misinformed prevalent notion of ‘what they’re’ and ‘how they’re’ according to the society. In reality, they’re subjected to confusion and pain on account of the inflexible compelled conformity to sexual dimorphism. They have to deal with disparities related to societal stigma, discrimination and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination in opposition to them has been the major cause of substance abuse and suicides among them. To make it worse, this discrimination starts inside the areas of their own family existence which transcends into their social life, education, health and so on.

Section 377 found a place inside the Indian Penal Code prior to the enactment of Criminal Tribes Act that criminalized all penile-non-vaginal sexual acts between men and women, which included anal sex and oral intercourse, at a time when the myopic view regarding transgender humans was their association with the aforementioned sexual walkthrough.

Reference may be made to the judgment of the Allahabad High Court in Queen Empress v. Khairati (1884) ILR 6 ALL 204, wherein a transgender is arrested and prosecuted under Section 377 on the suspicion that he changed into a ‘habitual sodomite’. However, an acquittal was granted on appeal. This judicial precedent is highly in contrast to the historical instances in India where the transgender community has a robust ancient presence in the Hindu mythology and different non-secular texts. Hijras also played a prominent role in the royal courts of the Islamic international, particularly in the Ottoman empires and the Mughal rule in medieval India.

Constitutional Rights: LGBT

The Constitution provides for protection under the Fundamental Rights chapter to all humans with a few rights being restrained to only citizens. Beyond this categorization, the Constitution makes no further distinction amongst the rights holders. The Preamble of our Indian Constitution mandates Justice – social, monetary, and political equality of status.

The Constitution provides for the fundamental right to equality and tolerates no discrimination on the grounds of sex, caste, creed or religion. The Constitution additionally guarantees political rights and other benefits to each citizen. However, the third community (transgenders) is still ostracized. The Constitution affirms equality in all spheres however the moot question is whether or not it’s being implemented.

Most of the contraptions by means of which the Indian state defines civil personhood, gender identity is a vital and unavoidable class. Identification on the idea of sex within male and woman is a vital aspect of civil identity as required throughout the country. The Nation’s coverage of spotting only sexes and refusing to recognize hijras as ladies, or as a third intercourse (if a hijra desires it), has deprived them of numerous rights that Indian citizens take. Those rights consist of the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to marry, the proper to claim a proper identity via a passport and a ration card, a driver’s license, the right to education, employment, fitness so on. Such deprivation secludes hijras from the very material of Indian civil society.

Questions Relating to ‘Third Gender’

  • Why are some people transgender?

There is no single explanation for why a few people are transgender. The variety of transgender expression and reports argue against any easy or unitary rationalization. Many experts believe that biological factors which include genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels, acknowledged later in adolescence or maturity may also all contribute to the improvement of transgender identities. This is a discussion that goes beyond the scope of the article but for a layman’s knowledge, transgenders are not defective people. They are humans with the same cognitive abilities as a man or a woman.

  • How does someone know that they are transgender?

Transgender human beings revel in their transgender identification in a diffusion of ways and can turn out to be privy to their transgender identification at any age. Some can trace their transgender identities and emotions returned to their earliest reminiscences. They will have indistinct emotions of “no longer becoming in” with humans in their assigned sex.

Others become privy to their transgender identities or begin to explore and revel in gender-non conforming attitudes and behaviours during youth or later in life. A few include their transgender emotions, at the same time as others struggle with emotions of shame or confusion. Folks who transition later in existence may have struggled to healthy incompetently as their assigned sex most effective to later face dissatisfaction with their lives. Some transgender humans, transsexuals, specifically, experience extreme dissatisfaction with their sex assigned at birth, bodily sex characteristics, or the gender position associated with that sex. These people often are trying to find gender-maintaining remedies.

  • Is being transgender an intellectual disease?

A psychological phenomenon is taken into consideration as an intellectual disease only when it is a reason for great distress or incapacity. Many transgender human beings do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that figuring out that you are a transgender does not represent a mental sickness.

For those individuals, the actual mental hassle is finding low priced resources, inclusive of counselling, hormone therapy, medical processes and the social help essential to freely express their gender identity and reduce discrimination. Many other barriers may additionally lead to distress, together with a loss of attractiveness within society, direct or indirect stories of discrimination, or assault.

  • What are a few classes or forms of transgender humans?

Regularly, transsexual humans adjust or wish to regulate their bodies through hormones, surgery or other methods to make their bodies as congruent as possible with their gender identities. This technique of transition through clinical intervention is regularly referred to as sex or gender reassignment. It is also called gender confirmation. Folks that were assigned girl, however, identify and live as male and regulate or wish to regulate their bodies through scientific intervention to extra closely resemble their gender identity are known as transsexual guys or ‘trans men’ (also known as lady-to-male or FTM). Conversely, individuals who had been assigned male, however, discover and live as a woman and modify or wish to alter their our bodies through scientific intervention to greater closely resemble their gender identity is referred to as transsexual women or trans women (additionally called male-to-woman or MTF). A few those who transition from one gender to every other option to be referred to as a person or a girl, rather than as transgender.

Folks that go-dress put on garb this is traditionally or stereotypically worn by way of another gender of their subculture. They vary in how completely they go-get dressed, from one article of apparel to fully go-dressing. People who pass-get dressed are usually comfortable with their assigned sex and do not want to trade it. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not always tied to erotic interests. Cross-dressing is not indicative of sexual orientation. The diploma of societal recognition for move-dressing varies for women and men. In a few cultures, one gender may be given greater range than any other for carrying apparel associated with a different gender.

The term drag queens generally refer to guys who get dressed as ladies for the motive of wonderful others at bars, clubs, or different events. The time period drag kings refer to women who dress as guys for the purpose of pleasing others at bars, clubs, or other occasions.

Genderqueer is a term that a few humans use who identify their gender as falling outside the binary constructs of “male” and “woman.” They will define their gender as falling somewhere on a continuum between male and woman, or they may outline it as fully extraordinary from these phrases. They will additionally request that pronouns be used to consult them which are neither masculine nor feminine, which include “zie” in place of “he” or “she,” or “hir” rather than “his” or “her.” a few genderqueer people do no longer perceive as transgender.

Different categories of transgender human beings consist of androgynous, multi-gendered, gender nonconforming, third gender, and two-spirit human beings. Genuine definitions of these phrases vary from individual to character and might alternate through the years, however, often consist of a sense of blending or alternating genders. A few folks who use these phrases to explain themselves see conventional, binary standards of gender as restrictive.

  • What is the relationship between gender identity and sexual orientation?

Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional appeal to any other man or woman, whereas gender identity refers to one’s inner experience of being male, female, or something else. Transgender human beings can be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or asexual, simply as non-transgender people can be. A few current pieces of research have shown that a trade or a brand new exploration period in associate attraction may additionally occur at some stage in the manner of transition. But, transgender humans typically continue to be as connected to loved ones after transition as they have been earlier than transition.

Transgender human beings commonly label their sexual orientation using their gender as a reference. For example, a transgender girl, or a person who’s assigned male at start and transitions to a girl, who’s attracted to different women could be recognized as a lesbian or gay woman. Likewise, a transgender man or someone who’s assigned lady at start and transitions to male, who’s attracted to different guys, would be recognized as a homosexual guy.

Homosexuality: Rights of the LGBT

The transgender ruling was not about Section 377 and the court took pains to clarify that. But Section 377 remains the elephant in the room that cannot be wished away. Sex is part of the package.

A Fresh Look at Homosexuality

The legitimate role of the scientific and psychiatric classificatory structures on homosexuality is that it is far an ordinary variant in the psychosexual improvement. This is a nice approach to understand homosexuality. In the past, it was related to sin and crime and hence those people with a homosexual orientation were ostracized in society. With this new technique, they may have a healthful area in society.

While welcoming and agreeing with a high-quality belief of homosexuality, it is tough to simply accept the position that homosexuality is a regular psychosexual improvement. It is, in truth, an aberration inside the psychosexual development, resulting from genetic and psychosocial elements for which the person is not always accountable. There are research findings, which endorse that there are structural variations inside the brains of humans with homosexual orientation.

Homosexuality is not always statistically and biologically analysed. Statistically, it isn’t always regular because of its bureaucracy skewed inside the normal distribution. Each biological function has a physiological goal and purpose. The sexual hobby has desires. One is procreation to guard the continuation of the species. The second one is the experience of pride, which in truth, is to facilitate the sexual pastime and to reinforce the bond between husband and wife.

Homosexuality negates one of the desires of sexual interest procreation. Homosexuality has, therefore, to be considered as an aberration in the psychosexual improvement as a result of genetic and psychosocial factors. People with gay orientation aren’t responsible for this aberration. It is not a sin to be discriminated towards. It is not a criminal offence to be punished. It is not a psychiatric ailment desiring treatment despite the fact that people with a homosexual orientation can regularly expand anxiety and melancholy needing treatment if they’re ostracized in society. Because homosexuality is neither a sin nor a criminal offence, the freedom of these with a gay orientation to stay a satisfied existence must not be interfered with.

While society accepts homosexuality undoubtedly, those with a homosexual orientation should also receive their psychosexual repute gracefully and get on with existence. As a possible response to society’s prejudice and discrimination, there seems to be an inclination for them to aggressively declare normality in their sexual orientation. In addition, they seem to say too much about private freedom and rights. Personal freedom and rights are usually confined to some extent, so long as we stay in a social organization. There are distinct components of homosexual behaviour which could come into the struggle with social expectations, religious ideas, and thoughts of morality. People with gay orientation ought to recollect all these and must be organized for compromises.

Law and Justice

The Supreme Court rulings on Section 377 (Naz Foundation vs. Government of NCT of Delhi and Others & Suresh Kumar Koushal and another vs. NAZ Foundation and Others) and transgender right document confusion of notion inside the judiciary. The conflicting judgments of the courtroom on homosexuality seen at the side of its enlightened ruling on transgender rights probable displays a sluggish evolution of liberal notion within higher Indian judiciary.

The needs of the 21st century and the enlightened vision of the Indian Constitution, with its attention on justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity assuring the distinction of the person, mandate a creative citing of the regulation. The judges who reinstated Section 377 opted not to heed the call of justice and renew the guideline of the law with regards to the brand new question that was provided. Alternatively, the judges of the Delhi high court on Section 377 and those of the Supreme Court on transgender status took up the undertaking and rethought the regulation and cited them in response to the call of justice.

Reversal on Gay Rights in India

The police use the law in question to threaten and blackmail gays, lesbians and transgender humans. Violation of the law is punishable by means of a fine and imprisonment.

The British colonial authorities enacted Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, primarily based on Victorian morality, to criminalize non-procreative intercourse. The Naz Foundation, a non-governmental enterprise operating inside the field of human immunodeficiency virus/obtained immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/Aids) and sexual health, challenged the Constitutional validity of Section 377 as it violated the right to privacy, to dignity and fitness, to equality and non-discrimination and to freedom of expression. It additionally argued that the law avoided public fitness efforts at lowering the threat of transmission of HIV/Aids as the concern of prosecution averted people from discussing their sexuality and lifestyles fashion. The Delhi High Court on 2nd July 2009, in a landmark judgment, held Section 377 to be violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15, as it criminalized consensual sexual acts between adults in non-public.

The court restored Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a 19th-century law, barring “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. The judgment has brought on incredible dismay among liberal and innovative human beings and among activists and advocacy groups, which use judicial intervention to redress grievances in opposition to minorities of all shades in India. It has also been criticized for prison and human rights views.

Ancient facts record the presence of homosexuality from time immemorial, even in our way of life. The universality of equal-sex expression coexists with versions in its meaning and exercise of the way of life. For the reason that 1970s, deserted pathologizing same-intercourse orientation, conduct, and LGBT lifestyle picks. The new understanding changed into primarily based on research that documented an excessive incidence of identical-intercourse emotions and conducts in males and females, it incidence across cultures and among almost all non-human primate species. Investigations the usage of psychological assessments couldn’t differentiate heterosexual from gay orientation. Studies additionally demonstrated that human beings with gay orientation did now not have any objective mental disorder or impairments in judgment, balance and vocational abilities.

Psychiatric, psychoanalytic, scientific and mental fitness professionals now remember homosexuality as an ordinary version of human sexuality. It cautioned that an awful lot of the distress faced by humans with identical-sex orientation is because of problems they face residing in our predominantly heterosexual global.

Gay-affirmative psychotherapies have been evolved, which help human beings deal with the awareness of being same-intercourse orientated and with social stigmatization. There is no proof for the effectiveness of sexual conversion remedies. Such treatments also increase moral questions. In truth, there is evidence that such attempts may also cause greater harm than properly, inclusive of inducing melancholy and sexual dysfunction. However, faith-primarily based corporations and counsellors pursue such tries at conversion using yardsticks, which do not meet clinical requirements. Clinicians must hold the dictum “first do no damage” in thoughts. Physicians ought to offer a medical provider with compassion and respect for human dignity for everybody no matter their sexual orientation.

The landmark judgment of the Delhi High court, which declared that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code violates fundamental rights guaranteed by way of the Constitution, became consistent with worldwide, human rights and secular and criminal trends. But, the anti-gay attitudes of many religious and community leaders replicate the life of widespread prejudice in India. Prejudice towards different life is part of many cultures, incorporated into maximum religions, and is a supply of warfare in Indian society.

Homosexuality and India

Human sexuality is complex. The attractiveness of the distinction between choice, behaviour and identification acknowledges the multidimensional nature of sexuality. The reality that those dimensions won’t continually be congruent in people suggests the complexity of the problem. Remedy and psychiatry appoint terms like homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality and trans-sexuality to encompass all related troubles, at the same time as cutting-edge social utilization argues for lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), which focuses on identities.

The superiority of homosexuality is difficult to estimate for many reasons, such as the related stigma and social repression, the unrepresentative samples surveyed and the failure to distinguish choice, conduct and identity. The figures range in age businesses, areas and cultures.

The argument that homosexuality is a stable phenomenon is primarily based on the consistency of equal-intercourse sights, the failure of attempts to change and the shortage of achievement with treatments to regulate orientation. There is a growing realisation that homosexuality is not an unmarried phenomenon and that there can be multiple phenomena inside the construct of homosexuality. Anti-homosexual attitudes, once taken into consideration, the norms get modified over time in many social and institutional settings like in the west. But, heterosexism, which idealises heterosexuality, considers it the norm, denigrates and stigmatises all non-heterosexual forms of behaviour, identity, relationships and communities, is likewise not unusual.

Gay-affirmative psychotherapies have been developed, which help humans cope with the attention of being same-intercourse orientated and with social stigmatization. There is no proof for the effectiveness of sexual conversion treatment plans. Such remedies also boost moral questions. In fact, there may be proof that such tries might also reason more damage than desirable, consisting of inducing depression and sexual dysfunction. Physicians must provide a clinical carrier with compassion and respect for human dignity for all of us no matter their sexual orientation.

The landmark judgement of the Delhi High Court, which declared that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code violates essential rights guaranteed by way of the Constitution, turned into in keeping with international, human rights and secular and legal developments. However, the anti-homosexual attitudes of many spiritual and community leaders reflect the life of tremendous prejudice in India. Prejudice in opposition to extraordinary existence is part of many cultures, included in maximum religions, and is a source of conflict in Indian society.


The issue is not whether the court ousted L, G and B from the LGBT umbrella. The issue is that whether L or G or B or T, Section 377 has no business in a country that wants to be considered a liberal democracy in the 21st century. The government has to come to terms with that or hope that the Supreme Court does it for them by taking up the curative petition soon. Until then it will keep tripping up at home and abroad over the elephant in the room.


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