Is India ready to accept transgender people in military forces?

Can we become the 20th country to accept transgender individuals in the armed forces? After years of struggle, transgender people, who dream to serve the nation by being recruited in Police or the Army, see a ray of hope as the letter from MHA gets approval from CRPF and BSF. 

After the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has requested suggestions and responses for the recruitment of transgender in the police force and the Indian Army from the concerned authorities, we all are waiting for the good news.   

In a letter from MHA addressing to CRPF, CISF, BSF, SSB, and ITBP wrote about the issue of incorporating the ‘third gender’ along with male and female for the upcoming examination of Central Armed Police Forces, CAPF. The examination is to be held in December 2020, so MHA has demanded an urgent response to the concern from the authorities. 

In repose to the letter of MHA, the CRPF stated: “We fully value the spirit of the order of Honorable Supreme Court. CRPF already has a gender-neutral work environment. In view of impending policy guidelines of MHA, we shall make it further compatible as per the need.” The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has got a similar response from BSF. Now, they are waiting for the response from CAPF, ITBP, SSB, and CISF. 

According to sources, MHA is likely to get a positive response from all other forces soon.  

Akshay praised MHA effort for the recruitment of transgender people in the military  

The superstar of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar lauded the MHA’s push for the recruitment of transgender people in military force by a tweet. He has played the role of a transgender in his upcoming movie ‘Laxmmi Bomb’ directed by Raghava Lawrence.

Transgender

Civil Services added the Third Gender to their online examination form for 2020

Transgender Persons Protection of Rights Bill was passed in December 2019. And by the rules, transgender people can’t be denied equal opportunities in employment, education or training. We can see the inclusion of the third gender category for the various job profiles and recruitment examinations. For example, the UPSC has added transgender category apart from male/female for their 2020 Civil Services examination.  

On 5 February, DoPT issued this statement: “All ministries/departments of the government of India are requested to modify the relevant examination rules providing for inclusion of ‘Transgender’ as a separate category of gender, so as to make the said Rules in conformity with the provisions of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019.   

Although there’s no admission of transgender people in the Indian police or Army at present, we are hoping for things to change quickly. 

Will India become the second Asian country to accept transgender in the military?

If India recruits transgender people then it would be added in the list of 19 other countries that do the same. We are late but better late than never. 

Countries that recruits transgender individual in the Armed forces are Netherlands (1974), Sweden (1976), Denmark (1978), Norway (1979), Australia (1992), Canada (1992), Israel (1993), Czech Republic (1999), UK (2000), France (2000), Estonia (2000), Finland (2000), Belgium (2003), Austria (2004), Spain (2005), Thailand (2005), Boiliva (2010), New Zealand (1993) and French Guiana (2014). 

Transgender

The US President, Donald Trump banned recruitment of transgender people in military forces in 2017. He tweeted how transgender soldiers are causing ‘tremendous medical cost and disruption’ in the military forces. Probably, he forgot the figure of approximately 15,000 transgender soldiers serving the American military.

Here are three tweets of Trump that had caused panic and confusion in America. 

Trump

The final question, are we ready to accept them?

With the government doing its part, we as a society need to accept people the way they are. There are 4.9 lakh transgender or third gender people in India who have been struggling for a decent life, acceptance and equal opportunity. It’s time we give them their long due love and rights. Time to force change upon ourselves and accept everyone.