India: Trans people entitled to “head of household” status


An Indian Hijra (transgender person)

In another significant victory for transgender equality in India, a high court has ruled that transgender people can be legally recognised as the heads of their households.

This status will allow transgender individuals to secure ration cards to help feed themselves and their families. The ruling was made by the Allahabad High Court in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

“Food security means no less to a transgender than to other segments of society. Impoverishment and marginalisation have been endemic to the transgender population,” said the court, reported News Nation.

It ruled that the “law needs to travel beyond non-discrimination, by recognising an affirmative obligation of the state to provide access to social security. Food security lies at the foundation of it. Transgenders must have both”.

In April last year, India’s Supreme Court ordered the government to officially recognise transgender people as a third gender.

It also ordered the government to include transgendered people in its welfare programmes aimed at vulnerable groups.

Earlier this year, a transgender woman broke new ground by winning the mayoral election in the Indian city of Raigarh.

Known as Hijra in India and South Asia, transgender people often organise in communities but also face poverty and many are forced into begging to survive.

While there is growing acknowledgment of transgender rights, gay sex remains illegal in India.

The Indian Supreme Court outraged the international LGBT community in December 2013 when it restored the 153-year-old colonial-era ban on gay sex, seen by human rights groups as a disturbing step backwards for the country.

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