Last week market a another great stride from the LGBTO community when a 31 year old transgender woman Padmini Prakash became India’s first transgender TV news anchor. Padmini Prakash is currently the face of the Lotus News Channel’s daily 7 p.m. special bulletin and her place in the spotlight comes on the heels of a major Supreme Court decision in India which officially recognised transgender people as a ”third gender”. By doing so the court also extended the rights to education, jobs, and driver’s licenses.
The rights still do not pertain to India’s gay, lesbian or bisexual citizens. Transgender community has been met with greater acceptance due to the fact that it has a strong presence in the Hindu culture. The Supreme Court ruling specifically refers to eunuchs, or hirjas in Hindi, who often appear in Hindu religious ceremonies and epics (though a eunuch is defined as “a man who has been castrated,” which is obviously entirely different than being transgender, it still indicates an awareness of different gender identities).
There is still much work to be done in order to legalize homosexuality and provide for the human rights of the gay community in India. India is in the process of considering this kind of reform after the government filed a curative petition earlier this year. Supreme Court bench is currently reviewing India’s laws on homosexuality.
The presence of the first transgender TV news anchor suggests that India has acceptance towards the transgender community. Padmini Prakash cut ties with her family when she was young and dropped out of college to avoid heavy stigma of being a transgender woman. She went to become a dancer and actress and also won multiple transgender beauty contest. She is also very active in the movement rights of trans individuals in India.