It was a rare sight. Top judges on Saturday shared dais with members of the transgender community to advocate the latter's integration into the mainstream of society.
At the first-ever national seminar on ‘Transgenders and the Law’, judges and transgender activists called for an end to the discrimination against the third sex.
The seminar was organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) and the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) in association with the UNDP.
Inaugurating the seminar, Supreme Court judge and NLSA executive chairman justice Altamas Kabir said the Indian Constitution guarantees right to equality to all but "the transgender community continues to be ostracised by the society". UNDP Country Director Caitlin Wiesen pointed out the progress made in neighbouring Pakistan and Nepal to give due recognition to the transgender community. She particularly highlighted the Pakistani Supreme Court's landmark judgment affirming their right of access to all government schemes and programmes.
Transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, who came from Mumbai to attend the seminar said: “Please accept as I am”. “If we are truly Indian we should celebrate the diversity and restore the erstwhile glory that transgender community enjoyed before the advent of the British”, Tripathi added.
Delhi high court chief justice Dipak Misra talked of discrimination against eunuchs during Mahabharata period and emphasised that the third sex could not be ostracised and treated as aliens.