Gays, lesbians, bisexuals are not third gender: SC

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:14 pm IST

Published - June 30, 2016 03:20 pm IST - New Delhi

Activists of the LGBT community take part in a parade in Hyderabad. File photo: G. Ramakrishna

Activists of the LGBT community take part in a parade in Hyderabad. File photo: G. Ramakrishna

Over two years after recognising transgender people as a “third gender” in a historical judgment to ensure them a dignified life, the Supreme Court on Thursday clarified to the Centre that its verdict did not include lesbians, gays and bisexual persons under the category of ‘transgenders’.

A Bench comprising Justices A.K. Sikri and N.V. Ramana threatened to dismiss the government’s application with costs, saying that the April 2014 judgment was crystal clear that lesbians, gays and bisexuals had not been included in the category of “transgenders.”

The Centre has still not implemented the > 2014 judgment , which directs the government to treat transgender people or eunuchs as a socially and educationally backward class. The court had directed the government to provide them with incentives and benefits in education and jobs in order to help them gain dignity, ability to fight for their constitutional rights and get accepted into mainstream society.

Instead of implementing the verdict, the government chose to return to the apex court seeking further clarifications.

“Why should we not dismiss the application with costs? No clarification is required,” the court observed.

The 2014 judgment by a Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri had specifically clarified that though gay, lesbian, bisexual were included by the descriptor ‘transgender’, the apex court in this judgment was not concerned with any of the three.

“The grammatical meaning of ‘transgender’, therefore, is across or beyond gender. This has come to be known as umbrella term which includes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and cross-dressers within its scope. However, while dealing with the present issue we are not concerned with this aforesaid wider meaning of the expression transgender,” the judgment observed.

The judgment had clearly said that the benefit of “third gender” would be enjoyed by the transgender community comprising “hijras, eunuchs, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv-Shakthis, etc.”

“The Constitution has fulfilled its duty of providing rights to transgenders. Now it is time for us to recognise this and to extend and interpret the Constitution in such a manner to ensure a dignified life of transgender people. All this can be achieved if the beginning is made with the recognition that TG as third gender,” the 2014 judgment had observed.

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