Entry Of Transgenders In Armed Forces Being Explored; Study Group Formed
New Delhi: The Indian Armed Forces is examining potential employment opportunities and roles for transgender individuals and studying the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and its implications, Indian Express reported.
According to highly placed sources, the Principal Personnel Officers Committee (PPOC) formed a joint study group after its August meeting. The group was entrusted with discussing the implications of the Act and proposing a course of action for its implementation in the defense forces. It was led by a senior officer in the Directorate General of Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS).
The PPOC is made up of senior officers from all three services as well as the AFMS, the Armed Forces’ tri-service medical organisation.
The branch of the Army Adjutant General recently requested feedback from its line directorates regarding the viability of hiring transgender personnel for the force, potential career options, and roles they could play in the forces. The majority of the directorates have reportedly already sent in their feedback, though discussions are still in the early stages, the report added.
Suggestions and concerns
- Transgender people should not be given any special treatment when it comes to training, strict selection procedures, or postings in challenging areas if they decide to join the military.
- Administrative and logistical challenges, such as housing and other infrastructure.
- How they and their spouses—if any—would be recognised in the military and how they will integrate culturally with other active military members when they are gradually incorporated into the force in a phased manner.
- The military cannot be looked at as just an employment opportunity. There are administrative challenges such as a lack of housing and toilets, particularly in field locations where there is a paucity of resources and space.
- Restricting their postings to only peace stations would cut opportunities for others after a field tenure.
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 is an equal opportunity provider to the transgender community. However, employment in defence forces is selection and merit-based, which will remain equally applicable to transgenders if recruitment to the military is opened to them at any given point.
Notably, the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice presented a report to the Rajya Sabha on August 3. The report suggested that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) should think about granting reservation benefits to transgender individuals in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) while putting policies in place to facilitate their recruitment, even though there are currently no transgender employees in the Armed Forces.