Marking the fourth anniversary of the NALSA judgment recognizing the right to self-identify one’s gender, a better setting could not have been chosen for a seminar discussing the rights of transgender persons in India. The conference challenged the notions that society had tacitly accepted.
The panelists were chosen in a manner conducive to producing multiple-stakeholder analysis of each issue. Particularly as a student of law, it is integral that I remain sensitized about these social issues and actively contribute to the social movements that they trigger. As panelists and as members of the audience, several trans-persons communicated the deep rooted pain, anger and melancholy they harboured towards a system that failed them, but continued to remain hopeful of positive changes in the future.
Annihilation of gender and gender roles was my takeaway from the seminar. During Mr. Arvind Narrain’s presentation, he characterized the Indian Constitution as transformative. The spirit of the Constitution lay in the struggle it symbolizes, which is far from over for the transgender community. Affirmative action is required to uplift historically subordinated communities thereby “trans-forming” the socio-political scenario in India. There are complexities that need to be addressed in the welfare distribution amongst the trans-community. However, most integrally, the seminar catalyzed meaningful dialogue with the members of the transgender community. It helped me exchange knowledge and experiences that will aid me as we march towards the common goal of equality and liberty.
I look forward to attending future editions of this seminar in the future, and to continue the important conversations that we have triggered here.
(Karthik Viswanath is an final year student of BA.LLB from NUALS, Kochi. He was one of the Student Journalists and for the Transform Conference and attended it.