Transgender Persons and Workplace Equality

Transgender Persons and Workplace Equality

Author: Amrittha Adikkesavelu
IV Year | Government Law College, Vellore


Only in the last decade, the rights of transgender persons have started advancing. This is the beginning of ending the systematic discrimination they faced for many long years.

In 2014, the Supreme Court in the case of National Legal Service Authority Vs Union Of India[2] established a foundation for their rights in India by recognizing transgender as a third gender and laying down several measures for the prohibition of discrimination against transgender persons and their protection.

They have the right to all fundamental rights guaranteed under part III of the Indian Constitution. They are entitled to specific benefits in education and employment.

This article elaborates the right to work. It sheds light on harassment issues and other workplace issues as well as their solutions. It also talks about the employment rights available to transgender people.

‘Transgender’ Meaning:

The dictionary meaning of the term ‘transgender’ refers to those individuals who are socially, and medically categorized as being either male or female but who assert to be different. Transgender people may or may not be intersex but it is a self-stated identity. In other words, a transgender person means a person whose gender does not match with the gender that was assigned to them at their birth.

 Also, According to Section 2(k) of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 which reads as follows:

“2(k) “transgender person”-means a person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-man or trans-woman (whether or not such person has undergone Sex Reassignment Surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy), person with intersex variations, genderqueer and persons having such socio-cultural identities as kinner, hijra, aravani and jogta.” [1]

Harassment at workplace:

High levels of harassment and abuse are the main problems that a transgender person has to face at the workplace. Transgender people are easy targets in the workplace and suffer discrimination against them to a greater extent.

According to a 2011 survey,

  • 50% people suffer harassment at the workplace by co-workers.
  • 7% are experiencing physical violence
  • 6% are being sexually harassed
  • 23% miss out their promotion owing to harassment.[3]

The other major problem faced by transgender employees in the workplace is the use of practicalities and infrastructure. For example, access to toilets and changing facilities which lead to the pressure to hide their gender identity. Trans-people, before entering employment, are facing many challenges even during the process of hiring. They get jobs at a position lesser than what they deserve.

Though the government has promulgated the laws, it has failed to meet the expectations. By educating children and creating public awareness at every level possible, the suffering of transgender people can end.

Ensuring Workplace Equality:

As per the golden thread of equality under the Indian Constitution, all citizens have an equal opportunity to grow as human beings irrespective of race, caste, religion, community, social status, and gender. Accordingly, transgender people have their own choice to determine their identity as the determination of gender to which person belongs is intrinsic to the right of self-determination and dignity.

Inclusivity of transgender persons in the workplace is an uphill task for society because accompanying societal change has been a slow process in our country. Improving the status of the transgender community in every aspect will lead to a wide range of development in the country. Especially empowering transgender persons in the workplace would improve the economic position. There are few countries that have non-discrimination policies and policies for the inclusion of transgender.


Only by providing law, we cannot achieve Trans-equality. Its true essence is only when the government takes measures to adopt those policies and include trans people in the mainstream community. In India, it is high time to follow the laws that would benefit trans people and put an end to the discrimination faced by them all through the years. With all the government plans, measures, and policies it is the main obligation of the fellow citizens to accept as a third-generation without abusing the trans-community but by encouraging them in every possible way.

[1]Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, S 2(k), No.40 of 2019

[2]National Legal Service Authority Vs Union Of India, AIR 2014 SC 1863

[3] EVERFI, Scott Raynor, November 23, 2020

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­[4] National Legal Services Authority(NALSA) v. Union of India, AIR 2014 SC 1863

Editor: Khushi Sharma

Forensic Evidence and Criminal Justice Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

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