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Rights

Watch | Misgendering, Sexual Violence: What It Is to Be a Transgender in an Indian Prison

The Wire's Sukanya finds how the transgender community faced physical and sexual violence in Indian prisons, and their complaints overlooked by the authorities.

Violence, misgendering, medical negligence and routine denial of legal aid — are what mark the experience of transgender inmates in prisons across India. In her reports for The Wire, Sukanya Shantha tracks how vulnerable one such group — the transgender community — is in India’s prisons.

Sukanya finds that many trans women were forced into male prisons where they faced physical and sexual violence. In the testimonies recorded, trans prisoners said that their complaints are routinely overlooked by prison authorities. So also are their medical needs.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, passed in 2019, creates trouble for transgender prisoners. It mandates legal gender recognition and requires an individual to apply for a “transgender certificate”. In this backdrop, Sukanya notes, a transgender person who enters prison without this certificate is at the mercy of prison authorities and doctors to “recognise” and “certify” them on the basis of their genitals.

What makes any redressal of these issues difficult is the lack of data on transgender prisoners. Prison statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) are inadequate — they only record data along a narrow male-female binary. Transgender people are not counted separately.

You can read the story here.