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India’s top court recognizes third gender category

/ 04:03 PM April 15, 2014

Indian gay rights activists shout slogans during a protest after the country’s top court ruled that a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality will remain in effect in India in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. AP

NEW DELHI— India’s top court has issued a landmark verdict creating a third gender category, saying transgendered people can now identify themselves that way on official documents.

Activists say it will give relief to millions of people who face discrimination in India’s deeply conservative society.

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The Supreme Court directed the federal and state governments to include transgendered people in all welfare programs for the poor, including education, health care and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges.

Before Tuesday’s judgment, transgendered Indians had to identify themselves as male or female in all official documents.

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Many transgendered men in India earn a living by singing and dancing at weddings and births, but others must resort to begging or prostitution.

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TAGS: court, Gay rights, gender, India, LGBT
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