India: Government's Census recognizes transgenders as third gender

After being counted as 'males' by the Indian Government's Census department for decades, the transgender community for the first time found mention in a survey report released by the National Crime Records Bureau. In its new report of 2014, the NCRB recorded the deaths and suicides of the transgender community, making it the first time that transgenders have been recognised as a separate category in an official survey undertaken by the ministry of home affairs.

Transgender activists believe that induction of a third category in a National level survey marks a new beginning. However, there were some who said that in India where there is very little awareness about the rights of transgenders, categorising the community for the first time in NCRB survey might not be the ideal start.

"It seems like a good step but for people to recognise us as a people with equal rights, we would have preferred other concrete steps instead of featuring in a survey about deaths," said Rudrani, a Delhi based transgender activist.

"Another reason for suicide can be the lack of opportunities faced by the community be it in getting an education or jobs," said Rurani. The data provided by NCRB corroborated Rudrani--Out of the 16 people who allegedly committed suicide four were un-employed, two were self employed while profession of 10 others falls under "other professions". The economic status showed that 12 of them earned less than 1 lakh rupees.  Read More