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5 J. Indian L. & Soc'y 225 (2014)
Contradictory Tendencies: The Supreme Court's NALSA Judgment on Transgender Recognition and Rights

handle is hein.journals/jindlas5 and id is 249 raw text is: 





                                                  ANIRUDDHA DUTTA

      The article analyzes the 2014 Supreme Court judgment (National
      Legal Services Authority v. Union of India') that affirms the con-
      stitutional rights of transgender persons and promises legal identity
      recognition and reservations for transgender people and communities.
      The article argues that the judgment oscillates between broad and nar-
      row interpretations of the 'transgender' category, and between gender
      self-determination (understanding gender identity as determined by
      oneself) and biological essentialism (seeing 'biological' or physical char-
      acteristics as the basis for gender identification). Such contrary ten-
      dencies suggests that the actual interpretations and implementation of
      the judgment will be uneven and varied, potentially excluding diverse
      gender variant people and restricting its promised gains such as legal
      identity recognition and affirmative action.

      The year 2014 has been significant in terms of the legal recognition of
transgender persons as subjects of citizenship and rights. First, in January, the
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) brought out a report on
'issues relating to transgender persons' drafted by an 'expert committee' that it
had constituted after consultations with representatives from the transgender
community in 2013.2 Second, in April, the Supreme Court delivered a judg-
ment following a writ petition filed by NALSA (the National Legal Services
Authority) and supported by prominent transgender activists like Lakshmi
Narayan Tripathi. The NALSA judgment, which gained rapid media cov-
erage and activist attention, included directives for the legal recognition of

   Assistant Professor in the Departments of Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies and Asian
   and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Iowa. The author would like to
   thank the peer reviewer and the editors of this journal.
   (2014) 5 SCC 438.
2 Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Report of the Expert Committee on the Issues
   relating to Transgender Persons, 27-1-I2014, <http://socialjustice.nic.in/transgenderpersons.php>
   (hereinafter MSJE).

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