“It is the right of every human being to choose their gender,” it said in granting rights to those who identify themselves as neither male nor female. It ordered the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities.
According to one estimate, India has about two million transgender people. In India, a common term used to describe transgender people, transsexuals, cross-dressers, eunuchs and transvestites is hijra.
Campaigners say they live on the fringes of society, often in poverty, ostracised because of their gender identity. Most make a living by singing and dancing or by begging and prostitution. Rights groups say they often face huge discrimination and that sometimes hospitals refuse to admit them. They have been forced to choose either male or female as their gender in most public spheres.