Impact of Binary Gender Budget on Transgender Lives in India

Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Jón Ingvar Kjaran
India, NALSA Judgement 2014, Transgender/Third gender, Binary Gender Budget


The National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) judgement by Supreme court of India in 2014, legally recognized the existence of non-binary gender identities as a third gender category and granted them fundamental rights of equality and freedom as Indian citizen. The judgement used third gender as an umbrella term for transgenders, hijra, intersex, Kinnar, and Aravanis gender identities who may or may not have sex reassignment surgery. It directed central and state governments to take proactive actions for integration and protection of third gendered people within society. 
    Unfortunately, the process of integration is slow, lacks budgets, and gender mainstreaming policy framework still sees gender identities in binaries. There is no accurate data due to the invisibility of third gender/ transgender in census except for 2011, which hinders access to basic human rights and resources. India, as part of gender mainstreaming and commitment to sustainable development goals, uses gender budgeting tools and ensures that it is part of the national budget rather than a stand-alone component.
    This essay explores how the heteronormative concept of gender is institutionalised in Indian Institutional structures. It brings forth the concept of women’s empowerment as a default for gender equality and the adverse effects of practicing gender in binary. Using gender budgeting as a driver of change, it recommends the concept of gender budgeting beyond binaries as a pathway for enabling transgendered people’s access to their basic rights of education, health, and livelihood. It hopes to influence simple yet effective changes in the narrative of Indian Union Budget Statement 13.