The book 'Law beyond Gender' was compiled by lawyer Yeshwant Naik

My friend Sowmiya was a transwoman who was completely unaccepted by society. While her family allowed her to live at home, she was not able to make a living except through begging.

When she decided to go into sex work, she was raped and harassed by her clients and sometimes even by the police.

Finally, she fell in love with a man who refused to marry her as she was a transgender, explains transgender activist Kalki Subramanian.

This was the last straw for Sowmiya, she lost the will to live and committed suicide. There are many Sowmiyas in India, who are denied even the dignity of life.

Even if they do find someone who will love them, their marriage is not legal. If they want a family, there are no specific laws that allow transgenders to adopt and no laws that recognise the parent-child relationship of transgenders in India.

No legal support

Even for transgender people who do not engage in sex work and are well educated, there is no legal support. They are always viewed as outsiders.

At the end of the day, all that we are asking is that the society should accept us for who we are and not deny us our rights.

It is for this reason that I decided to support the book that Yeshwant Naik was compiling, she said.

Favourable laws
Around the world, different countries have introduced laws that allow transgender people the freedom of life. They are recognised as human beings. In Spain, for example, a transgender woman is allowed to use women’s restroom. In other countries, marriage is allowed and many have even introduced social security for transgender people, Anthropological lawyer Yeshwant Naik, who compiled the book ‘Law beyond gender’ said.

India still needs to go a long way in terms of the legal questions when it comes to transgender people. Policy change is definitely necessary if they are to live in dignity, he said.

Book release

The book was released with the support of Margaret McLaren, Professor from Rollins College on Tuesday. It deals with the various legislations that have been passed to promote transgender rights in different countries around the world.

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