Here's What India Thinks Of The Transgender Community

A one-of-a-kind poll from BuzzFeed News and Ipsos shows broad support among Indians for non-discrimination protections, welfare benefits, and reservations for transgender people.

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BuzzFeed News and the polling firm Ipsos partnered with UCLA Law School’s Williams Institute to conduct a survey on attitudes towards transgender people across 23 countries.

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In India, the survey was conducted in person due to low internet penetration. The sample consists of 610 adults between the ages of 18 and 99.

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that the government must enact broad reforms to correct the history of transgender discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

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Instead, it called for affirmative action for transgender people in employment and schools, and giving them welfare benefits.

A majority of people in the survey said they supported the progressive transgender rights bill unanimously passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2015.

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Our survey was conducted before a more conservative version of a transgender rights bill — which has been widely condemned by transgender activists — was introduced by the government in the Lok Sabha in August 2016. But 68% of respondents in our survey said they agreed the more progressive version that passed the Rajya Sabha should also be enacted into law.

You can read the complete findings of the BuzzFeed News/Ipsos survey — which covered 23 countries around the world — on BuzzFeed News. Here are some specific findings about Indians' attitudes toward transgender people:

1. Around 85% believe that transgender people should be protected from discrimination by the government.

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While the current draft of the Transgender Bill in our country is against discrimination across spaces, it fails to define discrimination to begin with.

6. 64% said they also support reserving seats in the legislature for transgender people, similar to the 33% reservation for women.

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80% also support reservations for them in education to combat discrimination and ensure their children can be admitted into schools.

However, Indians reported that they were less familiar with transgender people than people in many other countries in the survey:

10. Indian respondents also expressed less comfort with transgender people than with those who identfy as gay/lesbian when asked how they felt about both groups as neighbours.

11. While 24% of the respondents thought that individuals should be able to change their legal sex designation without any restrictions, around 11% of Indians opposed changing legal sex designation for any reason.

16. Also, 69% of Indians believe that transgender persons have a form of physical disability, and 57% feel that they have a form of mental illness.