India Recognizes a Third Gender

Transgender recognition a 'human rights issue': high court
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2014 9:36 AM CDT
India Recognizes a Third Gender
In this June 2, 2012 file photo, transgender activist Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi attends a meeting to discuss ways of achieving equality for transgenders and eunuchs in New Delhi, India.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das, File)

In a major Supreme Court decision today, India is changing the way it defines gender. Transgender people are now officially considered a third gender, along with male and female, the Washington Post reports. "Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue," says a justice. "Transgenders are citizens of this country and are entitled to education and all other rights."

Transgendered people, the court says, must be granted access to social programs offering career, educational, and health care support, the AP adds. "All documents will now have a third category marked 'transgender.' This verdict has come as a great relief for all of us. Today I am proud to be an Indian," said transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi. Some 3 million people in India identify as transgender, the AP notes. The new rules do not, however, apply to gay, lesbian, and bisexual citizens, the court said. Indeed, the court is currently facing protests for reviving a law against gay sex. (More India stories.)

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