The situation for India’s transgender community is dire, but news that the nation will now officially recognize them as a third sex comes as a largely positive step on an ever-rocky journey.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is far more than a mere symbolic gesture — it dictates that transgender people are eligible to receive quotas in areas like jobs and education, on par with other minorities.
And with an estimated population of two million transgender people living in the country, it’s a major move away from the fringes of society and towards larger acceptance.
Discrimination and harassment runs rampant, with many fearing basic necessities like seeking public medical support.
India joins other nations like Nepal and Bangladesh in recognizing a third gender.
“Today, for the first time I feel very proud to be an Indian,” said prominent transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.
Unfortunately, this comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s December ruling which criminalized gay sex, leaving a strangely unnerving reality that two people classified as transgender would now be breaking the law by having consensual sex.