India top court recognizes transgenders as ‘third gender’

Transgenders wear white sarees symbolizing widowhood during the annual eunuch festival at Koovagam village, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

India’s highest court on Tuesday recognized the existence of a third gender that is neither male nor female, in a landmark judgement hailed by transgender people.

“Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue,” Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan told the Supreme Court while handing down the ruling.

The court directed state and federal governments to identify transgenders as a neutral third gender who should be granted access to the same welfare schemes as other minority groups in India.

“Transgenders are citizens of this country and are entitled to education and all other rights,” said Radhakrishnan who headed a two-judge bench on the case…

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