Paramilitary Forces to Consider Hiring Transgenders. This is a Big Step Toward Empowerment


Paramilitary Forces to Consider Hiring Transgenders. This is a Big Step Toward Empowerment

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

India’s paramilitary forces could be headed for a landmark moment in their history. The Union Home Ministry (MHA) has written to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), seeking its views on recruitment of transgender persons as officers. In its letter, the MHA has asked CAPF to respond to the matter of including transgender as the third gender alongside male and female in the upcoming CAPF (Assistant Commandants) Examination 2020.

Prior to the MHA’s suggestion, there had been no provision for recruiting transgender individuals in the paramilitary forces. Currently, the MHA is waiting on the response from various branches of the paramilitary forces – including the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

Last year, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill was passed in Parliament. This bill sought to enable the social, economic, and educational empowerment of India’s transgender citizens. The MHA’s move to include transgender persons in the CAPF exams can be viewed as an aftereffect of the bill.

If the paramilitary forces are willing to accept the MHA’s suggestion, then the upcoming exam for recruiting assistant commandants in December will include transgender as the third gender in its application forms. Such an inclusion would be a progressive step toward transgender representation in Indian society. The move has been hailed as having the potential to break a glass ceiling for this underrepresented group.

India’s military and paramilitary branches have served in the name of all citizens for decades. Now, if the MHA’s suggestion comes to pass, the third gender can proudly return the favour.