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Transgender in Sports

Context: The transgender women have been barred from competing in the female category by World Athletics (WA), the international governing body for track and field.

Background of Transgender in Sports

  • Transgender women who have experienced male puberty will not be able to compete in the female competition after March 31, 2023.
  • Under the previous rules, there was no blanket ban, but transgender women had to reduce the amount of blood testosterone to 5 nmol/L and maintain this level for 12 months in order to participate.
  • However, the World Athletics Council has set up a working group to conduct research “to further consider the issue of transgender inclusion”.

Issues Associated with Transgender Community

  • Health: Transgender people face enormous health disparities, including staggering rates of HIV infection, lack of primary care (including individualized, medically necessary transition- related healthcare), and high rates of attempted suicide.
  • Discrimination: Transgender people bear the economic consequences of discrimination, including high rates of poverty and unemployment, discrimination in education, and homelessness.
  • Safety: They experience frightening levels of physical violence. This is particularly true among transgender people participating in sex work and other informal or criminalized economies.
  • Civil Rights: Possessing accurate and consistent identification documents has always been challenging for the transgender community.
  • Marginalization and Social Exclusion:  Marginalization of Transgender people often starts with the family into which they were born. They have limited opportunities to make social contributions and they develop low self-confidence and self-esteem and become isolated.
  • Employment: Low literacy rate and social exclusion limits the employment and livelihood opportunities for transgender community.
  • Homelessness:  Transgender people face the problem of homelessness including a lack of housing and services that meet their specific needs.
  • Education: They are unable to access equal educational opportunities because of harassment, discrimination and even violence.

Important Judgments

  • In 2014, the Supreme Court of India, in the case of the National Legal Services Authority versus Union of India, established the foundation for the rights of transgender persons in India by recognising ‘transgender’ as a ‘third gender’.
    • It also laid down several measures for prohibition of discrimination against transgender persons and protection of their rights.
    • The judgment recommended reservations for transgenders in jobs and educational institutions and their right to declare the self-perceived gender identity without undergoing a sex reassignment surgery.
Important Judgments
Important Judgments

Initiatives for Transgender Community in India 

  • Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019: The Act aims to end discrimination against transgender persons in accessing education, employment and healthcare.
  • Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020: The rules seek to recognise the identity of transgenders and prohibit discrimination in the fields of education, employment, healthcare, holding or disposing of property, holding public or private office, and access to and use of public services and benefits.
  •  National Council for Transgender Persons: It advises the Union Government for the formulation and monitoring of policies and redress the grievances of transgender persons.
  •  SMILE (Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise):  This scheme has been launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
    • The focus of the scheme is extensively on counseling, basic documentation, education, skill development, financial assistance to transgender students, composite medical health and setting up of Garima Grehs in each state for providing shelter facility for abandoned and orphaned transgender persons.
    • It also aims to set up transgender protection cells in India for providing quick redressal of offences & crimes against transgender persons.
  • National Education Policy 2020: NEP 2020 identifies transgender children as Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups 4 (SEDGs) and provides for equitable quality education for all such students.
    • A ‘Gender-Inclusion Fund’ will be constituted under the new policy to build the nation’s capacity to provide equitable quality education for all girls as well as transgender students.
  • PM-DAKSH: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is imparting skill development training to the Transgender beneficiaries of the SMILE Scheme through PM-DAKSH.
Transgender Community in India 
Transgender Community in India 

Way Forward

  • Concerted efforts should be made to bring about legal reform so that transgender people are as free and empowered in their public and private lives as any other citizen of India.
  • Gender-sensitization of the common people should work in parallel with legal reforms.
  • It is the responsibility of each individual at all micro and macro levels to create a ‘gender inclusive’ environment around the transgenders at their households, workplaces and other institutions.

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