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India’s new ruling advances trans recognition

Last week, India’s Supreme Court ruled to accept transgender individuals as a third gender, a massive step forward in gender recognition. Now transgendered people have the option to identify as this third gender, eliminating the traditional binary gender system still used by most developed nations. This ruling seems like a natural political progression for India, whose Election Commission ruled in 2009 that voters could register with “other” as their gender. In addition to India, Bangladesh and Nepal have also officially recognized a third gender, while nations such as the United States have not.

It is important to provide a third gender option other than the “male” or “female” identity. This binary decision forces transgender individuals to align themselves with one of two identities which they may not feel comfortable characterizing themselves as.

Other nations should adopt this system based on the simple notion of inclusion. Forcing someone to adopt a label they feel does not describe them is an unfair constraint placed on members of a group, which, unfortunately are often subject to societal marginalization as it is.

That being said, India must still revise various laws that are holding it back from universal acceptance of its citizens. In 2013, Indian courts reinstated a law, that had previously been struck down in 2009, criminalizing homosexual actions, meaning that homosexual acts currently are punishable by a 10-year prison sentence.

India’s Supreme Court has made an excellent step toward creating greater acceptance of transgender people within their nation. It can only be hoped that many other nations will follow in the near future. However, there is still room for improvement in accepting different kinds of people, and promoting tolerance should be an important consideration for all nations.
Last week, India’s Supreme Court ruled to accept transgender individuals as a third gender, a massive step forward in gender recognition.