You Got to Give It to UP. When It Comes to Transgender Rights, It’s a Leader


You Got to Give It to UP. When It Comes to Transgender Rights, It’s a Leader

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

When it comes to transgender rights, India has made slow but steady progress over the years. In a new major win, the Uttar Pradesh government cleared an amendment to the UP Revenue Code 2006, now allowing transgender people to inherit agricultural land.

A revenue department officer said that the state cabinet earlier this week cleared an amendment for inclusion of third gender in the nomenclature. Previous mentions were limited to “sons”, “daughters”, “married”, “unmarried” and “widow”. It will become law once the state legislature passes it, which is expected to happen this week.

The state law commission, in March, had submitted a proposal to the state government, raising demands for a law acknowledging the inheritance right of the “third gender”. Justice AN Mittal of the state law commission had drawn the attention of the state government towards the legislation that left out transgenders. It leads to social ostracism in society and prevents them from getting equal rights.

After the amendment, the third gender will have succession and physical rights to the property. The amendments have been made in the section 4 (10), 108 (2), 109 and 110 of the UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Act, 2020, to give the transgender succession and physical rights to the property, the Revenue Department officer said.

Last year, Uttar Pradesh had also announced the country’s first university for transgenders in the Kushinagar district. It will facilitate members to study right from class one to PG, and even do research and get a PhD degree. It is being built by the Akhil Bhartiya Kinnar Siksha Seva Trust (All-India transgender education service trust).

“It is the first of its kind in the country where members of transgender community will be able to get education and the process of has already been initiated. From January 15 next year, two children who are brought up by the community members will get admission and from February and March other classes will start,” president of the trust Dr Krishna Mohan Mishra said.

Positive developments have emerged from West Bengal as well, where a private bus operator’s association has decided to reserve two for transgender commuters in its buses. Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, that has 35,000-40,000 buses affiliated with the association has said that two seats in every bus associated with the organisation will be marked as “Tridhara”.

The process of marking the seats has already begun in a couple of routes and will be extended to all buses. “It is not just about earmarking two seats but to recognise transgender people and create awareness among commuters to treat them as equals. This will also sensitise the staff of the buses as well as passengers to treat people from the third gender with respect,” said general secretary Tapan Banerjee.

One hopes more states and more organisations will take cue, and take positive steps to make our society more inclusive.