Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Press Release: Indian Supreme Court Ruling on Third Gender Category


Sapna Pandya
President, KhushDC (Washington, DC)

Today, in an historic ruling, the Indian Supreme Court joined its counterparts in Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan to create a third gender classification for India's communities that identify outside of oppressive "male or female only" gender classification systems.

In response, KhushDC President Sapna Pandya issued the following statement:

“We applaud the Indian Supreme Court's decision creating a third gender category for transgender Indians.  We support the Court's declaration that ‘all people have a right to choose their gender,’ and that the Constitution guarantees ‘equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender.’”

“While today's decision is critical and just, much work remains.  First and foremost, it is important for jurisprudential experts to derive a precise understanding of the ruling and its impact on both gender and sexual minorities in India, so that activists can keep advocating for the strongest and clearest protections possible for transgender Indians.”

“Secondly, we hope the Indian government will make it a priority to enact accessible laws that will actually empower and protect India's transgender communities not just on paper, but in all spheres of life.”

“Finally, we hope that the Court will use precisely the reasoning it endorsed today to reverse its recent ruling and finally strike down the Indian Penal Code's Section 377, which criminalizes homosexual sex and has been used to persecute transgender Indians and other sexual minorities for over a century.  It is impossible to empower and protect transgender Indians while declaring the sexuality of so many of them to be criminal.”

KhushDC is a social, support and political group that provides a safe and supportive environment, promotes awareness and acceptance, and fosters positive cultural and sexual identity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) and additional gender or sexual minority South Asians in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

We represent a broad array of nationalities including those of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.