Government mulls recruiting transgenders as officers in paramilitary forces

Some countries allow transgenders to openly serve in the military

Government mulls recruiting transgenders as officers in paramilitary forces

Photo for representation only.

Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 2

In a radical move, the central government is considering to recruit transgenders in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). 

The MHA has requested CAPFs views on incorporating transgender as the third gender, along with males and females, in the Rules of CAPF (Assistant Commandant) Examination 2020.

On July 1, the ministry sent a reminder to CAPFs for urgently forwarding their comments so that a final view on the matter could be taken, sources said.

The views of these forces are being compiled by their respective personnel directorates in consultation with their medical branches.

According to sources, the issue is being examined, it includes medical and physical aspects, functionality in a uniformed force as well as other factors such as social acceptability, psychological impact and behavioural aspects.

The forces concerned, include the Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, Shashtra Seema Bal, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force and the Assam Rifles.

Gazetted officers (GO) join these forces at the rank of Assistant Commandant, the entrance examination for which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. According to data placed by MHA in Parliament earlier this year, these forces are facing a shortage of 2,695 GOs.

The combined shortage of subordinate officers and other ranks is said to be close to one lakh. The total sanctioned strength of these six forces is 1,005 lakh out of which about three per cent are women.

Some countries allow transgenders to openly serve in the military or the police though without any special exceptions.

The United States had allowed transgenders to serve in the armed forces for a few years by has recently banned them. While some studies in the west have suggested that there may not be any medical concerns with transgenders serving in the forces, the issues involved are social, cultural, emotive and behavioural.

In India, transgenders, known by various names and attired in female clothing, have been part of the society since times immemorial and have figured in mythology and ancient literature as well as in contemporary history and erstwhile royal households.

In the present day, many of them live on the fringes of society, often in poverty and ostracised because of their gender identity. Most make a living by singing and dancing or by begging and prostitution.

In 2014, a landmark judgement by the Supreme Court recognised transgender people as the third gender and ordered the government to provide transgender people with key amenities as well as quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities.

The government has already moved to recruit transgenders in various departments and also enabled their identity in electoral ballots.

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