Shiv Nadar Group Using ‘Non-binary’ as Third Gender Option Reignites Discussion on Sexual Minorities

Calling it an “inappropriate” terminology, the NCPCR has issued a notice — pointing out that the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, does not define and use the term for transgender children/students.
The NCPCR has urged the state governments to ensure that no school uses the terms that do not align with the NEP and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
The NCPCR has urged the state governments to ensure that no school uses the terms that do not align with the NEP and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

New Delhi: Recent complaint lodged with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) by a few parents from Shiv Nadar group of schools regarding the term “non-binary” seems to have highlighted the need to look into gender minorities through a diverse lens. While it is important to acknowledge the issues faced by the trans community, said rights activists, one also has to realise the list of terminologies is not exclusive.

The group’s admission form has gender categories this year for female, male and non-binary. This prompted parents to file complaints, which were highlighted in the group’s facebook page - Parent’s Feedback Survey.

Later, the NCPCR took notice of the usage of the term “non-binary” and issued a notice to the education departments of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The notice expressed concern over the use of what it deemed “inappropriate” terminology regarding a child’s gender.

The notice pointed out that the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, defines and uses the term “transgender”, and the National Education Policy (NEP) also refers to transgender children/students without using any other term. 

When asked about the notice, the group stated they are not aware of any such communication; and therefore, cannot provide any comment at the moment.

The NCPCR has urged the state governments to ensure that no school uses the terms that do not align with the NEP and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019. 

The emphasis is on aligning educational practices with the legal framework to avoid any potential discrepancies in addressing gender-related issues within school surveys or questionnaires.

The legislation defines transgenders as those whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-man or trans-woman (whether or not such person has undergone Sex Reassignment Surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy). 

The definition further referred to persons with intersex variations, genderqueer and persons having such socio-cultural identities as kinnerhijraaravani and jogta.

Nowhere is it mentioned that there is an exclusive vocabulary or that the definitions are exhaustive.

The Mooknayak talked to Kalki Subramanium — who uses the pronoun she/her and is a member of the National Council of Trans Persons, which was constituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in India. 

Agreeing with the notice, she responded, “Many people from the transgender community do not associate themselves with the term ‘non-binary’ because a lot of our spaces are being occupied by them.”

She said the transgender community is losing spaces and turning out to be a group of poor, beggars and economically and socially deprived. 

“So, there is a lot of displeasure when it comes to the transgender term being used interchangeably with ‘non-binary’,” she explained.  

An activist, who wishes to remain anonymous, suggested one option, in such cases, is to add a fourth option for transgenders in such forms. 

“One needs to understand that gender minorities are a diverse group of people. Nupis in Manipur, Kothis in the South, among others, are the transgender communities. Shiv Shakti, Mangal Mukhis and other such communities do not find a mention in the transgenders protection law, but it does not mean they do not exist,” said the activist.

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