The Indian military is considering hiring transgender individuals to fill a variety of defense roles, according to a recent report by Indian Express.
Sources said a joint study group has been established to evaluate the 2019 Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act and its potential implications in the Indian Armed Forces.
Current rules state that transgender people and homosexuals are not accepted in the military.
According to the outlet, some members of the group have already submitted their comments and suggestions, but everything is still at a “preliminary stage.”
A course of action is expected to be proposed and released soon, which could include possible defense positions for Indian transgender people.
Despite being open to the possibility, the military is aware of the potential concerns some may have with hiring transgender personnel for defense roles.
Some insist there should be no “special treatment” given to transgender recruits and that they should also undergo strict selection procedures just like other aspiring soldiers.
They must also be considered for deployment in challenging areas.
Furthermore, transgender individuals must also be wary of potential administrative and logistical challenges they may encounter in the armed forces, including housing and other infrastructure.
“The military cannot be looked at as just an employment opportunity,” one of the sources told Indian Express. “There are administrative challenges such as lack of housing and toilets, particularly in field locations where there is paucity of resources and space.”
India’s move to consider transgender recruits comes a few years after it sacked a navy sailor who underwent sex reassignment surgery while on leave.
According to a statement by the Indian Navy, a certain Manish Kumar Giri underwent irreversible gender reassignment “on his own accord” and altered the gender status under which he was recruited.
The sailor challenged the navy’s decision before the Delhi High Court and requested to be given an alternate job within the force.