People identifying as transgender are contrary to the usual gender conventions that only recognize males or females as genders.  People who identify as transgender are those whose gender identity differs from the gender they assumed at birth. They reject the standard idea of gender, which is split into male and female, and identify as transgender or genderqueer. Since society does not accept the gender they identify with and because they are different from the other gender, transgender people are exposed to social persecution and physical abuse. They primarily struggle with illiteracy, unemployment, homelessness, a lack of access to healthcare, and discrimination throughout their lives. The Indian Constitution has given them the right to preserve their rights. The Supreme Court has granted them the right to be recognized as the “Third Gender” and supplied them with various social welfare programs. The court upholds the equality of transgender persons and offers them protection per Articles 14, 15, and 21. The court emphasized the value of the right to dignity. It accorded the individual’s gender identity, which was based on reassigned sex following the procedure of sex reassignment, proper recognition because the individual had a fundamental right to be recognized as a male or female. In light of this, transgender people have a right to legal protection under the law in all areas of state activity, including work and education. In India, the rule of law is absolute and considers everyone equal.

The right to freely select one’s gender identity, which is a requirement for leading a life of respect, is another area covered by Article 21. In analyzing the right to individual liberty and freedom of choice, the Supreme Court noted that “the gender to which a person belongs is to be determined by the person concerned.”


In the historic decision of the National Legal Service Authority v. Union of India, the Hon’ble Supreme Court determined that the third gender should have access to the same fundamental rights as men and women, giving the third gender legal recognition. The court has refuted the dual gender system of “man” and “woman” based on sex. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan addressed the Supreme Court that the decision to recognize transgender people as a third gender was one of the human rights.

The Hon. Supreme Court found in Navtej Singh Johar v. the Union of India that discrimination based on sexual orientation violates both the right to equality and the right to privacy because it is a fundamental aspect of one’s sense of self. The court further decided that fundamental rights cannot be denied. For an extensive period, transgender persons have faced discrimination in housing, education, and job opportunities. They experience prejudice due to being socially stigmatized and left out of resources available to transgender persons. The Transgender Person (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 prohibits discrimination in vital fields like work, education, and health care, which is crucial for defending the rights of transgender persons and protecting them from it.


It has been observed that the community experiences prejudice. They are viewed as outcasts and untouchables because they are denied the right to apply for jobs, obtain licenses, contest elections, or vote (as stated in Article 326). In Nangai v. the Superintendent of Police, the petitioner had applied for the position of a female police constable. The Chennai-based Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board the application tests and screening. The Superintendent of Police in the Karur district issued an order of appointment in response to the petitioner’s successful application. She underwent a medical exam while training at the Vellore Police Recruit School. She was deemed “transgender” based on her biological constitution and genitalia by the examination. Later, she was removed from her position as a lady constable by the Superintendent. The Hon’ble High Court safeguarded the petitioner’s freedom to select a different gender identity as a third gender. The Hon’ble Court overturned the Superintendent of Police’s order terminating the petitioner’s employment to uphold her legal rights as a transgender person. In 2018, the legal proceeding of Akkai Padmashali v. Union of India. According to the Karnataka High Court, transgender people are entitled to protection against workplace prejudice and the right to the profession. The court ordered the government to take action to ensure that transgender people are not subjected to discrimination in the workplace and are given equal chances in both the public and commercial sectors. In Rishi Agrawal v. Union of India (2019), the Delhi High Court ruled that transgender people can be treated as equals while applying for jobs in the Indian government’s civil services. The government was ordered by the court to put in place the necessary safeguards to ensure that transgender people be included in the civil service hiring process. Following up on its ruling in the NALSA case from 2014, the Supreme Court of India ordered the government to make sure that transgender people are not subjected to discrimination and are given equal opportunities in both education and employment in the case of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) v. Union of India of 2019. The court also emphasized the necessity for programs to raise awareness and combat prejudice towards transgender people in the workplace.


Even though the situation has been progressing, there is still much to be done to address the problems transgender people confront. For transgender people to have their rights fully upheld and recognized, more must be done to make society more inclusive and tolerant. Building a just and inclusive society in India requires upholding the values of equality and dignity for all, regardless of gender identification. A substantial step has been taken to eliminate prejudice in industries like employment, schooling, and healthcare through the Transgender Person (Protection of Rights) Act 2019.

Author’s Name: Sreejeeta Das (Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad)

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