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in brief: india recognises trans* as third gender

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India’s high court has ruled that its transgender community will be recognised as a third gender. India is home to a significantly large trans* community who have campaigned for their equal treatment and the end of discrimination.

Because trans* people are not legally recognised in India, many have to resort to prostitution or beg for money. Now they can have birth certificates, passports and driver licenses recognising them as a legitimate third gender. The government will also have to assign a percentage of public sector jobs as well as school and college teaching positions to the trans* community.

Transgender groups are often subjected to hate crimes and abuse that rarely get investigated. Activists report that the police often fail to act as they lack education and sensitivity to LGBTIQ issues. Many hope that legal recognition as a third gender will force authorities to take these crimes more seriously.

Human rights activists also hope that the next great milestone will be lifting the homosexual sex ban in India, which was reinforced last December, four years after it had originally been lifted.

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