Srinagar, Oct 12: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has issued a directive on Wednesday, instructing all administrative departments to officially recognize "transgender" as a distinct gender category for recruitment in various job positions.
This landmark decision was warmly welcomed by the transgender community, who see it as a vital step towards their empowerment and inclusion within society. They also emphasized the need for further support and advocacy to address their unique challenges.
Dr. Aijaz Ahmad Bund, a renowned figure recognized for his pioneering ethnographic research titled "Hijras of Kashmir: A Marginalized Form of Personhood," has dedicated his work to understanding the lives of the transgender community in the region. He heads the 'Sonzal Welfare Trust' and expressed gratitude and optimism regarding this decision. Dr. Bund believes it will not only empower the transgender community but also lead to broader social acceptance and integration.
Dr. Bund pointed out that while the decision to recognize transgender individuals for recruitment is not new and was previously directed by the High Court, it had been delayed. The transgender community in Kashmir is now advocating for reservation in education and job opportunities.
He stated, "There have been numerous barriers to reach this stage, but it is now possible for transgender individuals to access these benefits. We consider the decision by the Union Territory administration as a positive start."
Shabnum Aapa, known as Shabu and hailing from Srinagar, called this a historic moment for the transgender community. She expressed joy that the government is recognizing their existence and rights, explaining that inclusion in the recruitment process opens up new opportunities for their future.
Shabnum emphasized that this move not only offers job prospects but also sends a powerful message of acceptance. "We are not invisible; we are a vital part of society," she added.
Another member of the transgender community, Farhana from Baramulla, believes that this decision will help break down barriers and eliminate discrimination. She expressed gratitude for the chance to contribute to the development of the region but also highlighted the need to address long-standing issues affecting the transgender community.
A circular issued by the government on Thursday instructed departments to modify examination and service rules to include a separate category of 'third gender or any other category' in application forms for recruitment to various positions in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The move is in line with The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019, which prohibits discrimination and ensures the inclusion of transgender individuals in various aspects of society, including education, employment, healthcare, and public services.
The circular underscores the importance of securing the full and effective participation of transgender individuals and facilitating their access to government welfare schemes while preventing discrimination in matters related to employment.
In alignment with this, the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India, issued an advisory in April 2020, requesting the modification of relevant examination rules to provide for the inclusion of transgender as a separate gender category. It also notified Civil Services Examination Rules in 2020, recognizing transgender individuals as a distinct gender category.
As a result, all administrative departments are urged to modify relevant examination and service rules to ensure conformity with the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019, making room for the inclusion of a separate category for 'Third Gender' or 'Any Other Category' in application forms for recruitment in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.