Transgender Indians could soon be leading combat troops as the country prepares to allow them to join its Central Armed Police Force.
India’s Home Ministry is paving the way for trans people to serve by consulting the various branches of the paramilitary police. It hopes to advertise the new job opportunities to trans people this year.
Trans people will then have to apply and take the annual civil service exam to enter the forces. The process aims to recruit people on merit and includes physical as well as written tests.
The move follows India’s Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act which became law in India last December.
It guarantees trans people ‘a level playing field’ in education, healthcare, employment and more.
‘Transgenders will add to the rich profile of these forces’
The Central Armed Police Force is responsible for guarding the country’s borders and protecting India from internal threats.
It includes the Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, National Security Guard and Sashastra Seema Bal. Together they make up around 1million personnel.
The Home Ministry has consulted each of the forces. The Border Security Force has already replied positively to the plans and the others are due to respond soon.
Indeed, India TV News reported positive comments from people already in the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
One commander likened it to the positive move of allowing women to serve, a process which started in 1992.
He said: ‘The transgenders will add to the rich profile of these forces. Also, if uniformed forces will not lead by example how can we expect other sections of the society to shed old inhibitions?’
Moreover another officer commented the forces wouldn’t have to build new infrastructure for trans people. The living units and toilets are already gender neutral.
He added: ‘If a person of any gender has, what we call officer-like qualities, then they can join the CAPFs on that merit alone. Also, all aspirants need to clear specific medical, mental and physical benchmarks for being recruited as officers in combat to lead their troops.’