Thanks to a new directive by the Supreme Court in India, the country’s nearly 3 million transgender citizens will now be able to enjoy the same “human rights” as all other Indians, including participation in all federal and state welfare programs for the poor, including health, education and jobs to assist them in “overcoming economic challenges.” In addition, they will now have the right to identify themselves on official documents as transgender (rather than male or female) after the court ruled that it was “the right of every human being to choose gender. The court’s verdict applies to both people who present themselves in a manner that does not correspond with their sex at birth, including those who have “acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex.” The ruling, however, does not apply to bisexuals, gays or lesbians.
“The recognition of transgender ( people who elect not to identify as male or female) individuals as a third gender is not a social or medical issue, but a human rights issue,” stated Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan. “Transgenders are citizens of this country and are entitled to education and all other rights, including the same rights as all other Indians to adopt children.”