Indian Armed Forces mulls possibility of hiring transgenders in defence roles

The development comes as the armed forces don't recruit transgenders or people identifying as homosexuals

The Indian Armed Forces are reportedly considering the possibility of hiring transgender in defence roles as it examines the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, and its implications. This act was implemented in January 2020 with the objective of providing the protection of rights to transgender people, their welfare and other issues.

According to the Indian Express, a joint study group was formed by the Principal Personnel Officers Committee (PPOC) after it met in August. The committee consists of top officers of all three branches of Indian military and AFMS which is the triservice medical organisation of the armed forces. This committee has been tasked with deliberating the implications of the act and suggesting a way forward for it to be implemented in the armed forces.

Recently, Army Adjutant General’s branch sought comments from its line directorates on the possibility of hiring transgenders, possible employment avenues, and the roles they could perform in the military. Among the suggestions they have received, some have insisted on not providing any special concessions to transgenders in terms of military training, rigorous selection standards, or postings in difficult locations, whereas others highlighted administrative and logistical difficulties such as their housing and other infrastructure. There also have been questions as to how they and their spouses be identified in the military and their cultural integration with the other serving military personnel. This development comes in as the Indian armed forces does not employ or recruit transgender people and people who identify as homosexuals.

Back in 2017, the Indian Navy had dismissed Sabi Giri, earlier known as Manish Kumar Giri, after the Navy personnel underwent sex reassignment surgery. “The serving sailor who underwent sex reassignment surgery at a private facility whilst on leave was administratively discharged from the service. The individual chose to undergo irreversible gender reassignment on his own accord, whilst on leave wilfully altering his gender status from the one he was recruited for at the time of his induction,” said the Indian Navy at the time of her dismissal.

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