New Delhi, April 15 :
Transgenders are elated at the Supreme Court judgment Tuesday recognising them as a “third gender”, but are afraid that the social acceptance will take longer because of the stigma and discrimination associated with them.
“The judgment is good in terms of recognising us as the third gender, but the discrimination will continue in (the society),” Shaila Jaan, a transgender, told IANS.
“Though it is a step towards development, but things will only change if the mentality of people towards us changes. So social awareness and change in the education system, along with acceptance will definitely bring change,” she added.
The apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice A.K. Sikri said that transgenders should be considered as people from socially and economically backward classes.
It also ordered the centre and the state governments to include them for reservation in jobs and education.
“It is wonderful to know that we would be getting equal opportunities and better job prospects. But, the question is how will people treat me? Will they ridicule me or will they make an effort to know and be friends with me?” asked Chandni, a transgender.
This judgment has given hope to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
The verdict “is important on a global level and India is one of the few countries to give this landmark judgment. This clearly shows that the Supreme Court is progressive in its approach. Now there would be no discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation”, Leslie Steven, a gay rights activist, told IANS.
Filmmaker and gay activist Onir too welcomed the judgment.
“It is a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court and should have happened many years back. Nevertheless, it is a significant judgment that has given equal rights to the transgenders like any other citizen of India,” Onir told IANS.
“This judgment also means hope to the LGBT community and we are hopeful to win that battle too,” said Onir, who has directed movies like “I Am” and “My Brother Nikhil”.