Thousands of transgender women in India have pledged to donate their eyes in celebration of the first anniversary of a landmark ruling recognizing them as third sex.
Members of the community gathered in New Delhi on Wednesday (15 April), exactly one year after the Supreme Court ordered the government to provide transgender citizens with quotas in employment, education and basic amenities.
The country’s apex court also instructed states to build special toilets and set up departments to look into their peculiar medical needs.
‘Eyes do not discriminate, the perspective and perception of people do. We have decided to pledge our eyes as a thank you gesture to Justices A K Sikri and K S Radhakrishnan who had passed the landmark judgment,’ transgender activist Laxmi Naryan Tripathi told the Press Trust of India.
‘We got 16,000 community members to sign the pledge. Our aim is to get 200,000 more transgenders to pledge their eyes over the next few days.’
Despite the celebratory mood, Tripathi said they would use the opportunity to send a message to politicians ‘to end the discrimination and take measures to reduce years of backwardness thrust upon us because of this stigma.’
‘The government’s response and action on the SC order has not been very positive and little effort has been made to help the community,’ she said.
While third gender has been recognized in certain legal documents in certain states, hospitals still do not know where to put trans patients and separate bathrooms have not yet materialized.
Some 490,000 Indians identified as third sex in the last census.