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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Transgenders celebrate first victory in battle for recognition

Sneha Agrawal, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 20, 2014
First Published: 10:24 IST(20/4/2014) | Last Updated: 14:53 IST(20/4/2014)

Transgenders across the city converged at Jantar Mantar on Saturday to celebrate the recognition of the community as a third gender.

“It was my years in school that exposed me to the humiliation that people from transgender community faced in the country,” said Sunil, a eunuch also known as Sonia, at the gathering.

Recalling her childhood she said, "I was in class 6 when I was forced to have sex with my senior. After this incident, getting raped behind the shut doors of a classroom along with physical and verbal assault became a regular affair. Despite having strong family support, the matter was hushed due to the fear of being ousted by society."

Watch: Transgenders celebrate first victory in battle for recognition

Sonia’s story is more or less what almost all transgenders faced in their childhood.

Having to earn a living as a sex worker, Sonia said: "If the government can provide us with jobs and help us earn the respect in society, then I would be the first one in my group to stop working as a sex worker. However, we have been hearing such things for many years now. I am not sure how well the law would be implemented."

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After years of waiting and especially after the reimposition of section 377 (criminalisation of homosexuality), this landmark verdict came as a pleasant surprise to the transgender community.

Transgenders from across the city had gathered to listen to Laxmi Tripathi, a transgender activist and be a part of the sensitization programme that saw lawyers like Anand Grover sharing their experience in the court room while fighting for the recognition for being a third gender.

Fed up of the verbal assault, Amrita, another eunuch, who quit her BA course from Delhi University, said: "I still get beaten by my father and brothers for dressing up like a girl. They want me to act like a boy." Amrita wishes to be a makeup artist and own a studio in Paris. She is very excited to know that now she can own a passport and have access to other relevant documents with her gender mentioned in it.

"I have already applied for the post of travelling ticket examiner (TTE) in the Indian railways. I hope to get selected and set an example to the society," said Chandni, who never got deterred by the derogatory remarks passed at her.

 "I am a representative of every section of LGBT. This is just a beginning of our good days. The fight to pen down section 377 will still go on. Now we have a base on which we can put up a fight for our rights at a large scale. We will bring about a cultural change in our society," said Laxmi Tripathi.


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