The spirit of India’s constitution is to ensure that all citizens have an equal opportunity to fulfil and develop themselves, regardless of religion or gender. In many parts of the world, as well as in our country, certain groups, communities, and individuals have always been on the sidelines for the development of global society and community. Due to a mix of orthodox beliefs, lack of awareness, or ineffective planning and policies.
The well-known “Hijra” community is also marginalised in terms of social, educational, economic, psychosocial and psychosexual wellbeing, and in addition, they have been fighting for their identity and their rights for centuries. The conclusion of the discussion of this article can be interpreted as the inclusion of transgender children or adults in the educational system or society at large. This requires an appropriate learning environment and social acceptance. In addition to content and pedagogical adjustments, part time teachers should be made aware of how to deal with teaching transgender children.
Comprehensive in-service teacher training programs for raising transgender children should be reframed to incorporate content specific to transgender people, as of their historical background, culture, the pattern of living, life skills, mental health condition, psychosexual aspects and participation in various gainful activities. As well as legal requirements and wellness programs. This would increase the understanding of trainee teachers for the concerns of transgender people and they would be more willing to discuss issues that affect that community.
Human rights are fundamental rights and freedoms that are intrinsic to the lives of every human being by the simple fact of being human. These rights cannot be twisted or revoked by any government. They include the right to life, freedom, equality, dignity as well as freedom of expression and thought. Choosing one’s own gender identity is a necessary part of living a dignified life, which falls within the scope of Article 21. (1)
In establishing a person’s right to personal freedom and self-determination, the Court stated that “the sex of a person is determined by the person”. (2) The Supreme Court gave Indian people the Gender Identity Right and India has experienced rapid development and growth. It has made significant advances in key human development indicators such as literacy, health and education. However, there is evidence that growth has not benefited all disadvantaged groups equally.
The transgender community is one of the most relegated and vulnerable groups in the country, and lags far behind on indicators of human growth such as education. As well as measures such as reservation policy and the right to education, etc. Since the majority of the population is illiterate or poorly educated, they are effectively excluded from social, cultural, economic and political activities. In addition, census data shows this community has particularly low literacy rates.
Only 46% of transgender people can read and write, compared to 74% of the general population. This community is classified as a “disadvantaged group” within the meaning of the Law on the Right to Education. Social exclusion, unemployment, persistent discrimination and violence, as well as teachers’ apathy towards the transgender community, are major factors that contribute to the low participation of transgender people.
Transgender people can be of any age or gender whose looks, personal characteristics, or behaviours do not match gender stereotypes about how men and women should be. Since the beginning of recorded history, there have been transgender people in every culture, race and class. Only the term “transgender” and the medical technology (3) to which transgender people have to access are new.
‘Transgender’ itself means ‘beyondgender’. A transgender or trans-identified person is a person whose gender identity, appearance, or gender expression does not appropriately fit into culturally prescribed gender categories. Transgender people are classified as LGBT (4) (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender). The life of transgender people is a daily struggle because they are nowhere accepted, being ostracised and ridiculed by society, in alll aspects of their life, including health, education and social services.
This extreme social barring adversely affects self-esteem and social accountability against all kinds of abuse and exploitation. The main reason is the discussion about the education of transgender children. (5) As part of the inclusive development approach, these members of Indian society have the right to further education, while preserving their authentic identity. They should be entitled to these rights without experiencing social discrimination, and with the ability to exercise their rights as normal children. This article discusses the educational and rehabilitation needs of transgender children in today’s inclusive society.
The community must be included in the country’s overall development program and shielded from all forms of harm and exploitation. Transgender is not a term restricted to people with crossed genitalia, but rather a general expression for people whose appearance of gender, identity, or demeanour varies from the rules and regulations expected of their birth gender. Several transgender groups fall into this category, including transgender men, transgender women, male to female, and female to male. This also incorporates transvestites, gender-specific people (feeling of belonging either both genders or neither) and transsexuals.
In India, there is a comprehensive series of transgender identification including Hijras, Aravanis, Jogtas / Jogappas, Shiv Sakthi’s who have experienced an outstanding honour in the past. ‘Hijra’ (6) is a Persian term used to define eunuchs and utilised in the general language of the transgender society in India. “Aravani” is a term used when the transgenders are genitally altered through Sex Reassignment Surgery or perform Nirwana, a traditional Kothi used for those who have female roles in the same relationships living in communities such as Aravanis.
The Jogappas in Maharashtra and Karnataka range from men to transgender women who are dedicated to serving a particular God. The Shiv Shakthi found in Andhra Pradesh are men who consider themselves married to gods, especially Lord Shiva. They usually function as religious healers (7) or astronomers. Transgender people are individuals whose individuality and deportment do not comply with stereotypical gender norms. There are numerous complications that the transgender community face in India include the following:
-Rejection by families and society
-Inadequate education and health amenities.
-Lately, eliminated from efficacious participation in cultural and social life.
-No participation in politics and decision making processes.
-They have no fundamental rights.
Androgynous members have a prominent role in Indian society. They are mentioned in primordial Hindu sculptures and were described in the great sagas of Ramayana and Mahabharata. In the Mahabharat Shikhandi’, played an eminent role at the majestic court of some Hindu emperors and also served Mughal Emperors in medieval India. In fact, many of them reached dominant positions. Theirs “transgression” commenced during British colonial regulations where The Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 considered the overall transgender peoples as “criminals” who were “addicted” to committing grave crimes.
They were detained for putting on women’s clothes, dancing or impersonating music in public spots, and for having gay sex. The law was repealed in 1949, but the cynicism of the transgender community remains. To the point that even today, they are socially excluded and live on the peripheries of society, sometimes in ghetto communities. As well as being harassed by the police and ill-treated by the public. (8) Many have turned to begging and prostitution.
In 2003, the Honourable High Court of Madhya Pradesh upheld an electoral court order annulling the election of a hijra, Kamala Jaan, as mayor of Katni on the grounds that this seat was reserved for women and that Kamla Jaan as a “man” he did not have Right to dispute the position. (9) It is argued that all citizens of India have the right to vote and to be voted. However, only two categories of gender are mentioned on the electoral roll: male and female. This is unfair to the third gender in India as they are deprived of their legal right to vote.
In 2009, the third gender people were allowed to pick their gender as ‘other’ on the electoral form by the election commission of India. In a landmark April 2014 ruling, India’s Supreme Court found that “the transgender, commonly known asthe ‘hijras’, is a part of Indian citizens who are perceived as strange and in general, as things of ridicule and even the fear of “being treated for superstition.” The Supreme Court governed: “granted the constitutional assurance, the transgender people have fundamental rights.” – Right to personal freedom, dignity, freedom of expression, the right to education and self-determination. As well as the right to live free of violence, discrimination, exploitation and the right to work (10). In addition, everyone should have the right to choose their gender identity and expression.
In India, the entire population of the transgender community is approximately 488,000 with a literacy rate of 57.06%. In 2011 there were 54,854 transgender children under the age of six. These children are now between 10 and 16 and currently have to be in school. The socio-economic situation of trans people in our country clearly shows that although education is out of reach for them, their greatest concern is survival.
Their Identities are not accepted by society, despite every child having the right to exist as a normal person with full dignity. Many population groups in India, such as transgender children, are also disadvantaged due to poverty, disability, hardship or a bad home environment. Like other students, they are fundamental to the whole development process of the country. Nobody should be left behind in today’s changing global landscape of inclusive progress.Transgender children were never considered an important part of our culture during colonial times, although they can be an excellent human resource for national progress.
The lack of analysis on transgender issues in education is problematic as so few transgender people do not participate in the education system. The actual number of transgender people in the education system is difficult to measure because the high level of social transphobia (11) ensures that they do not feel comfortable with public recognition of their identity. In addition, the lack of access to information prevents many young people, whose sex is different from the prevailing model of language, from giving their names (Brill & Pepper, 2008) (12) found that many transgender people recognise that they are transgender as early as childhood. These examples show that transgender children enter the education system from elementary school onwards.
(Sivakami and Veena, 2011) conducted a study on 120 transgender people in Coimbatore: According to researchers, 56% of transgender people have completed primary school and said their teachers and classmates avoided these subjects. 64% of them were found to be on low incomes. Due to victimisation over their nature, these people have various difficulties at work and therefore do not remain in work for long, often finding that their abilities and skills are rarely accepted in their field of work.
The study also revealed that 37% of transgender people lived with their own family and 39% reported problems with a specific family member. (13) Some school administrations in the United States have been held responsible for developing and implementing school rules that help provide all children with a safe and equitable learning environment, whilst complying with national standards, provincial legislation and school administration regulations. This quality orientateded research focused on school management’s experience with the definition of a transgender student and the student body’s experience with transgender inclusion. Using the definition of a transgender student concerning school policy and student body. The political implications of regional and construction activities are also dealt with.
The Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE2009) emphasised the importance of education for transgender youth in unordinary classrooms. RTE2009 strengthened Article 21A, which guarantees universal basic education, especially for those children from marginalised groups. Transgender children can be placed in a ‘disadvantaged’ category, which can help instill optimism in transgender them and adults. Giving them the ability to study with the same dignity as other students
It needs to be clarified whether the constitutional and legislative changes advocated for by the trans community are sufficient to create an adequate educational and social environment for the education and rehabilitation of these children, or whether additional measures should be considered to ensure adequate education and rehabilitation for them.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES:
(A) status of transgender’s education in India:
Transgender people were first counted in the 2011 census when the government agreed to include them in the population census as a segregated group. Until this point, the census only included two gender categories, male and female. In 2014 however, the Supreme Court of India accepted transgender as the third gender in all facets, but especially in education. Despite this step in the right direction, there is much variety of identity within the community. It is hoped that more of them take the opportunity to acquire both basic and specialist knowledge through higher education. Mandatory technical and vocational education must be generally accessible, and greater education must be equally accessible to everyone based on performance.
Among 35 states and territories, Uttar Pradesh in India had the highest proportion of eunuchs With 13,000. Bihar comes second with 9,987 trans people and West Bengal finished third with 9,868 members of the third gender. On average, they have completed basic training at 27%. Secondary level at a rate of 10% and upper secondary level with a rate of 10%. Of those, undergraduate and postgraduate courses were completed at a rate of 26%.
The transgender community in India is shamed and discriminated against and thus has lesser prospects as a result. This persecution also means eunuchs have low literacy rates compared to the rest of the general population, and a lot of them are also asked to drop out of school altogether. This leads them to engage in begging and sex work. Despite its inherent dangers, sex work if often seen as a way to confirm their gender. Through sex.
In society, they are considered to be “vectors” of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections like rectal gonorrhoea, syphilis and rectal chlamydia, etc. As well as an increased risk of H.I.V. (15)
B) Educational Opportunities:
Constitutional rights of transgender people:
Gender-specific identification between men and women is an important part of the civil identity required by the Indian state. Distinguishing only two gendersand refusing to recognise hijras as women or as third sex (if a hijra so wishes) has deprived them of certain rights that most Indians take for granted, such as the right to vote and be counted. The right to marry, the right to have a conventional identity including the use of a passport. Grocery cards and driving licenses are another problem they face, not to mention their difficulties around medical care.(16) As a result of these deprivations, hijras are expelled from the basic structure of Indian civil society.
Transgender Specific Policy:
Kerala was the first state in India to establish a comprehensive transgender policy, which aimed to eradicate their social exclusion.
Free Higher Education:
Universities in India offer free higher education to transgender students. The Manonmaniam Sundaranar University of Tamil Nadu has waived tuition fees for transgender students at all ten locations.
Transgender Welfare Board:
Tamil Nadu, for example, has a comprehensive social policy that includes free placement and gender verification in state hospitals for transgender people and includes a transgender welfare board made up of members of the trans community.
Whilst the educational opportunities in India should be equal among all children, the question of whether there is an adequate learning environment for transgender children in school remains. These children are faced with the added pressure of rising to the challenge of their sexual orientation. It is the responsibility of school administrators and management to maintain an appropriate environment on the school campus as various stigmas are more likely to affect their inclusion, as I have previously laid out. Other stigmas may be hinder the enthusiasm of such children and their focus on learning activities. Most of all, they can feel avoided, neglected, disrespected or embarrassed in an educational setting, resulting in them dropping out and thus unable to achieve their learning goals. (17)
Educational Research can help advance knowledge in this area, and can provide scientific evidence to support a particular course of action for improvement.
Teacher Awareness (18):
At every level of education, the engagement of teachers and students are essential to achieve the goal of a successful, fulfilling school career. With national goals and their respective roles taken into account, the quality of the entire educational process is determined by those in positions of authority. The Right To Education should be undertaken with full cognitive, psychosocial, emotional and moral support and any additional needs in mind. It should also be clear to all those involved in the educational process, at all levels, how they can contribute to their education in a holistic way. Underpinned by a students well being and cognitive skills, as well as the integration and collaboration between all children, whatever their gender identity. In this respect, teachers could be trained to offer a curriculum that is relevant to transgender students.
Lack of access to adequate sanitation:
Transgender people often do not have safe entry to public toilets. They can be attacked if they use a toilet that matches their gender identity or if they are forced to use a toilet that does not match their gender identity. The same goes for changing facilities. Wherever dress codes are enforced, this too can cause problems for transgender youth. (19)
The mentality of our society, academic fraternity and economy for rehabilitation of transgenderchildren:
Many parts of Indian society have a much more negative attitude towards rehabilitation, education, personal development, connection with other social orders and sociocultural characteristics of trans children. This often leaves these children unable to overcome the everyday obstacles they face. Acceptance for who they are as well as positive and inspirational attitudes from the academic community have the power to transform the lives of these children.
TRANSGENDER RIGHTS: A LEGAL FRAMEWORK
(A) The NALSA ruling: a glimmer of hope:
The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) ruling is undoubtedly to be commended for rejecting gender discrimination and offering hope and opportunity to a group that has traditionally existed outside of the legal system, and for whose bodies did not conform to recognised gender norms at birth. An innovative feature of the judgement had a significant impact on current marriage, adoption, labour and inheritance law, which now has to develop from the binary system of children and women in order to meet transgender people’s legal rights.
It’s ironic that the verdict came just months after the overlooked case of Suresh Kumar Koushal et al. against the NAZ Foundation (A non government organisation that works on HIV/AIDS and sexual health, based in New Delhi) confirmed the legitimacy of Section 377 of India’s Criminal Code. Recognising that Section 377 discriminates against transgender people, the court stated that the decision leaves the Koushal issue unresolved and focuses solely on the legal recognition of the transgender community in the Constitution, specifically the application of Article 19. See: (NALSA vs UOI, 2014) (20)
The solutions granted by the court are also fascinating. So far three mandates have been mentioned: Currently, hijras are viewed as the third gender, trans people have the right to choose between man, woman or with the third gender, meaning trans people should benefit from the government’s minority policies as they would be considered the “socially disadvantaged and backward sex”. The court then issues several different orders, including specific ones (e.g. Toilets and treatment of HIV positive trans people) and some general ones (such as instructing doctors to provide medical care to them in all facilities, designing various social plans for their promotion, as well as finding a way to raise public awareness around ensuring their safety).
(B) The Transgender People (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019:
The Lok Sabha passed the Transgender People (Protection of Rights) Bill of 2019. (21) No fewer than three versions of the bill passed by Parliament in 2014 on Transgender People (Protection), the Transgender People (Protection of Rights) Bill of 2016 and the Transgender People (Protection of Rights) Bill of 2019.
-August 2016: Presented at Lok Sabha.
-September 2016: Referred to the standing committee.
-July 2017: The Standing Committee presents its report.
-December 2018: Approved by Lok Sabha.
-December 2019: Presidential approval received.
-January 2020: Comes into force in India.
Highpoints of the bill:
The bill specifies a transgender person as “an individual who is partially woman or man, or a combination of woman and man; or neither female nor male.” In addition, the person’s gender cannot be the same as the sex assigned at birth and includes trans men, trans women, people with intersex variations and genderqueers. A transgender person must obtain a certificate of identity to determine their transgender status and exercise their rights under the law. It prohibits discrimination against transgender people in a variety of settings, including education, work and health care. As well as deeming that the federal and state governments set up social programs in these areas.
Crimes such as forcing transsexuals to beg, refusing their entry to a public place and physical and sexual assault carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine.
(C) Gaps in the Bill:
Perhaps the most significant case is that of education, which is addressed in Section 13 of the Bill. At school, the trans child makes their first experiences with society outside the family barrier. In school, the concepts of self identity and self esteem begin to take shape, so measures need to be developed to ensure that trans children are accepted into the school and feel safe and secure. (22) To promote inclusion, society needs to develop an awareness of the problems that the trans population faces. Clause 13 states that all state recognised education systems offer non-discriminatory sports, recreation and leisure opportunities. How gender specific sports, divided by binary gender, affect whether transgender people are allowed to participate in the same team as their preferred gender. Gender segregated sports that match their gender identity, and / or hormonal therapy. For example, regulations require that a transgender woman competes on a women’s team for at least a year while on testosterone suppressing drugs.
RECOMMENDATION AND SUGGESTIONS:
A critical part of education that could be explored is the creation of specific government funded scholarships for transgender students. This would ensure their access to all levels of education and develop a more inclusive and responsive curriculum. The need for inclusive school and university courses is growing. Our students need to be educated about the LGBTQ community and their rights, and teachers need to be trained to prevent discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming children.
In addition, the government could provide grants to ensure that transgender children go through all levels of education, and encourage the commercial sector to hire transgender people to overcome their marginalisation. (22)
Inclusion through Vocational Education:
Teachers, school administrators and the community play a critical role in promoting inclusion. When it comes to transsexual children, teachers need to provide them with professional skills and development training that will help them become independent. Teachers and other school staff need to be aware of the needs of the transgender community. When they become more confident, they will be more accepted in both their communities and their families.
The government should support initiatives such as scholarships, books and housing for trans students.
Anti-discrimination cell for transgender children / people:
To help prevent transgender people being harassed or discriminated against in schools, universities or other educational institutions, they should set up an anti-discrimination body. When speaking to a transgender person, we should use the appropriate pronouns (she/her and he/him) instead of insisting on using their birth names, as a basic step in protecting their dignity and self-esteem.
Get to know the people interested in the organisation / society:
It is the responsibility of all educational institutions, schools, universities and other organisations to recognise the rights and dignity of persecuted children to ensure that their organisation does not violate the dignity or privacy of people. Places of work and study should be committed to achieving this throughout their hierarchy.
National Commission on Transgender Children / People:
A government commission should be created to oversee the academic, social and economic rehabilitation of children and transgender people. It would be vital to have a deep understanding of the dynamics and children at different levels in terms of educational status, age, literacy, multi group skills, starting school and leaving between different levels of education. Collecting this data would require follow up with a census, gathering more information and purchasing more equipment.
Every individual is truly unique and necessary for nature. Hence, it is unethical to judge and discriminate against people who deviate from the stereotype, which is also a man-made construction. Citizens have the same rights and advantages in this country and follow a ‘live and let live’ policy. Thus, the most important right trans people deserve is the right to equality in Article 14, which prohibits discrimination based on religion, caste, sexual orientation, or place of birth. Article 21 states that all citizens have the right to privacy and personal dignity, while Article 21a (23) states that education is a fundamental right for all Indians.
The constitution guarantees basic rights to equality and prohibits discrimination based on gender, caste, creed or religion. In addition, it guarantees that everyone has political rights and other privileges. Despite such provisions in the Indian constitution, the third sex (transgender) continues to be marginalised. (24) At home, school and in the community, causing them to often move in pursuit of acceptance. Harassment can take the form of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, all of which can negatively impact a person’s mental health.
In 2022, in a democratic country such as India, this persecuted class has no access to any form of social assistance. Given the above findings, it is clear that it is very necessary to protect the rights of transgender people. As an important step in removing third-gender stigma, it is our turn to see the real implications of their neglect and prioritise their application. It is advised that extensive in service and pre-service teacher training programs be provided for transgender children’s education, right across the country.
(1)The Constitution of India, 1950
(2) Arun Kumar v. inspector general of registration, April 2019
(3)Grosz, A. M., Gutierrez, D., Lui, A. A., Chang, J. J., Cole-Kelly, K., & Ng, H. (2017).
A student-led introduction to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health for first-year medical students. Fam Med, 49(1), 52-56.
(4) Stryker, S., Currah, P., & Moore, L. J. (2008). Introduction: Trans-, trans, or transgender? Women’s Studies Quarterly, 11-22.
(5) Singh, A. A., & Kosciw, J. G. (2017). Introduction to the Special Issue: School Counselors Transforming Schools for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Students. Professional School Counseling, 20(1a), 1096-2409.
(6) Jain, R. (2018). Education for the Hijras: Transgender persons of India. Knowledge Cultures, 6(01), 51-61
(7) AthreyeViji. The Life of Transgender in India retrieved from www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/goverment/the-life-of-transgenders.
(8) Criminal Tribes. -India Code- www.https://indiacode.nic.in ( A1871-27)
(9)Kamala alias kamala jaan alias hijrah vs sadiq ali.
(10) The NALSA ruling 2014.
(11) dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people.
(12) Brill, S., & Pepper, R. (2008). The transgender child: A handbook for families and professionals. San Francisco: Cleis.
(13) Kurt, L. J., & Chenault, K. H. (2017). School policy and transgender identity expression: A study of school administrators’ experiences. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 12(3).
(14) Vats, N. K., & Purohit, M. (2017). Right to Education and Employment: A Step Towards Empowering Transgender Community. Kathmandu Sch. L. Rev., 5, 113.
(15) Rajesh and MD AslamNaved (2013). Approach Paper on Education and Employment opportunities & Challenges for Transgender.Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Government of India retrieved from www.socialjustice.nic.in/pdf/appendix5
(16) The Indian constitution 1950.
(17) Singh, A. A., & Kosciw, J. G. (2017). Introduction to the Special Issue: School Counselors Transforming Schools for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Students. Professional School Counseling, 20(1a), 1096-2409.
(18) Messman, J. B., & Leslie, L. A. (2019). Transgender college students: Academic resilience and striving to cope in the face of marginalized health. Journal of American College Health, 67(2), 161-173.
(19) Rajesh and MD AslamNaved (2013). Approach Paper on Education and Employment opportunities & Challenges for Transgender.Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Government of India retrieved from www.socialjustice.nic.in/pdf/appendix5
(20) National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India, (2014) 5 SCC 438.
(21) Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, IASSCORE (Feb. 12, 2020).
(22) Sawhney, A., & Grover, S. (2019). The transgender persons (protection of rights) bill 2019: Divergent interpretations & subsequent policy implications. Indian Journal of Law & Public Policy, 6(1), 1-12.
(23) The constitution of India 1950 (86th amendment act 2000)
(24) Sawant NS. (2016) Transgender: Status in India. Ann Indian Psychiatry 2017; 1:59-61.