The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment moved a Cabinet note. It wants the reservation of the Transgender community to fall under the Centre's Other Backward Classes (OBCs) category. The OBC category has 27 per cent reservations in several parts of the country. According to the new note, the people from the marginalized community would have to compete with OBCs for jobs and education. While some sections of the society applauded this move, others saw it as an act of 'eating into' the OBC quota.
Move Influenced By The NALSA Judgement, 2014
Several people from the Transgender community also severely criticized the move asking for a horizontal quota among all sections. The move is influenced by the NALSA judgement of 2014, which declared the 'third gender' category for transgender people. The judgement also entitled transgender persons to all the fundamental rights under the Constitution and allowed them the right to self-identify as male, female, or others. Activists from the community said that a blanket reservation under the OBC category would not do justice to the most marginalized sections of the community.
The News Minute quoted Trans activist Grace Banu, "This move by the Government is an eyewash in the name of reservation. If anyone is cheering, it might probably be trans persons from upper castes or classes. But, Dalit/Bahujan/Adivasi (DBA) trans persons are disappointed by this note." Moreover, the supporters seek a horizontal reservation across all Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes/ OBC categories for trans people, taking into view the intersectionality of the society.
Prevalent Caste Hierarchy In The Trans Community
Living Smile Vidya, a theatre practitioner, told the digital news media that when people think of the trans community, they think that there would be no caste discrimination, which is a wrong notion. She said that most trans people who ran NGOs for the queer community belonged to the upper caste, whereas most who indulged in sex work belonged to the OBC, BC and Dalit communities.
At the same time, the upper castes in the trans community fought for equal rights on humanitarian grounds, while those belonging to the lower community were struggling for employment and survival. Vidya further added, "Government should give horizontal reservation considering the population and prevalent caste hierarchies in the society. Only then it is truly intersectional and uplifting for trans persons everywhere."