Exclusion and Articulation: Transgender Counter-Public in the Indian Public Sphere

Main Article Content

Parul Priya
Anurag Kumar


The study attempts to locate transgender counter-public as an alternate public sphere in India. It argues that transgender counter-public is necessitated owing to the exclusionary practices of the Indian public sphere as well as the successive counter-public spheres. The study, further claims that transgender counter-public is constructed by critiquing the marginalisation of transgender people through exclusionary practices, and articulation of concerns linked to transgender people. Public discourse analysis of both discursive arenas—print: newspaper articles, journal articles, autobiographies, biographies, memoir, and others, and non-discursive arenas—activism, pride parade, protests and alike have been adopted as methodology. The study concludes that transgender counter-public achieves the dissemination of their concerns to the wider public that exclusion and discrimination of transgender people are a denial of social justice in the democratic social structure.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Priya, P., & Kumar, A. (2020). Exclusion and Articulation: Transgender Counter-Public in the Indian Public Sphere . Space and Culture, India, 7(4), 32-44. https://doi.org/10.20896/saci.v7i4.556
Special Articles


Aher, A. (2015, 28 July). Situation of transgenders in India. Youtube.com. Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uup8-zyQpcQ
Article 14 in The Constitution Of India 1949. (n.d.). Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/367586/
Article 15 in The Constitution Of India 1949. (n.d.). Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/609295/
Article 16 in The Constitution Of India 1949. (n.d.). Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/211089/
Article 19 in The Constitution Of India 1949. (n.d.). Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1218090/
Article 21 in The Constitution Of India 1949. (n.d.). Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1199182/
Asen, R. (2000, 1 November). Seeking the “Counter” in Counter-publics. Communication Theory, 10(4), 424-446, Retrieved on 29 August 2018 from, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2000.tb00201.x
Augustine, A. (2016, 9 January). Third Gender and the Crisis of Citizenship: Migration from Kerala to Tamil Nadu. Economic & Political Weekly, 51(2), 1-6. Retrieved on 19 March 2018 from, https://www.epw.in/journal/2016/2/reports-states/third-gender-and-crisis-citizenship.html?0=ip_login_no_cache%3Dcb766868a0a579473f3a1c283c59c748
Bandyopadhyay, B. & Pandey, J.M. (2017). A Gift of Goddess Laxmi. India: Penguin Random House.
Basu, M. (2015, 24 May). Transgender student hopes her coming-out story sets an example. The Indian Express. Retrieved on 19 June 2018 from, http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/transgender-student-hopes-her-coming-out-story-sets-an-example/
Batra, K. (2016). Creating a locational counter-public: Manushi and the articulation of human rights and sexuality from Delhi, India. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 41(4), 845-867. Retrieved on 9 May 2017 from, https://doi.org/10.1086/685118
Bhargava, R. & Reifeld, H. (2005, April). Civil Society, Public Sphere and Citizenship: Dialogues and Perceptions. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Borah, P.K. (2018, 22 November). Engaging with the law: Decriminalisation of homosexuality and the Johar Judgement, 2018. Space and Culture, India, 6(3), 5-22. Retrieved on 6 September 2019 from, doi.org/10.20896/saci.v6i3.400
Brooks, J. (2005, January). The Early American Public Sphere and the Emergence of a Black Print Counter-public. The William and Mary Quarterly, 62(1), 67-92. doi: 10.2307/3491622
Budden, S. & Sofaer, J. (2009). Non-Discursive knowledge and the construction of identity: Potters, Potting and Performance at the Bronze Age Tell of Szazhalombatta, Hungary. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 19(2), 203-220. Retrieved on 23 February 2020 from, doi:10.1017/s0959774309000274
Charles, G.U., & Rohwer, L.F. (2015). Habermas, the public sphere, and the creation of a racial counter-public. Michigan Journal of Race and Law, 21(1), 1-21. Retrieved on 15 March 2018 from, https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=mjrl
Cherry, K. (2020, 24 February). Consciousness is the Psychology of Awareness. Verywellmind. Retrieved on 26 February 2020 from, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-consciousness-2795922
Dasgupta, P. (2018, 6 September). Section 377 Verdict: Supreme Court Decriminalises Gay Sex, Heeds Indian LGBT Community's Long Struggle. Huffpost. Retrieved on 21 October 2018 from, https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2018/09/06/section-377-india-s-queer-community-has-fought-long-enough-it-s-the-sc-s-turn-now_a_23518650/
Dave, N. N. (2012). Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics. U.S.: Duke University Press.
Davidson, S. & Halsall, J. (2016). Gender inequality: Non-binary Transgender people in the Workplace. Cogent Social Sciences, 2(1), 1-12. doi: 10.1080/23311886.2016.1236511
Duncan, P. (2017, 17 July). Gay relationships are still criminalised in 72 countries, report finds. The Guardian. Retrieved on 12 September 2019 from, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/27/gay-relationships-still-criminalised-countries-report
Dwivedi, A. V. (2014). Rape in the Metropolis: The geography of crime in Delhi. Glocalism: Journal of Culture, Politics and Innovation, 3, 1-9. doi: 10.12893/gjcpi.2014.3.6
Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing Democracy. Social Text, No. 25/26:, 56-80. doi 10.2307/466240
Gay Straight Alliance Network, Transgender Law Centre, National Center for Lesbian Rights. (2010). Beyond the binary: A tool kit for gender identity activism in Schools. Retrieved on 21 October 2017 from, https://gsanetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/BeyondtheBinary-v2.pdf
Glossary of Terms- Transgender. (n.d.). Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender
Gupta, S. (2018, 16 July). Indian state takes a step forward for transgender rights, CNN. Retrieved on 11 February 2018 from, https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/16/health/india-kerala-transgender-laws-bill-intl/index.html
Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere: an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society. (T. Burger, Trans.). Cambridge: The MIT Press. (Original work published 1962)
Hasan, I. (2017, 17 December). LGBTQ community protests against transgender persons bill. India Today. Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/lgbtq-community-protests-against-transgender-persons-bill-1110328-2017-12-17
Hijra. (2020, 20 February). Retrieved on 16 February 2017 from, https://www.encyclopedia.com/philosophy-and-religion/islam/islam/hijra
Hindu Marriage Act 1955. (2018, January). Net Lawman. Retrieved on 21 February 2017 from, https://www.netlawman.co.in/ia/hindu-marriage-act-1955
Human Rights Violations against the Transgender Community: A PUCL Report (2003, September). Retrieved on 4 April 2017 from, http://pucl.org/sites/default/files/reports/Human_Rights_Violations_against_the_Transgender_Community.pdf
India's first transgender college principal resigns. (2016, 29 December). The Times of India. Retrieved on 14 February 2018 from, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/indias-first-transgender-college-principal-resigns/articleshow/56242412.cms
Issues Faced by Transgender persons in Odisha: Fact-Finding Mission to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. (2015, 20 July). Retrieved on 12 December 2017 from, https://www.hrln.org/hrln/images/stories/pdf/Transgender-Fact-Finding-Report-HRLN.pdf
Jackson, S. (1999). Heterosexuality in Question. Retrieved on 19 September from, http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446217382
Kohli, K. (2017, 12 November). Love Is Love: Delhi Hosts Its Tenth Queer Pride Parade. The Wire. Retrieved on 18 October 2018 from, https://thewire.in/gender/delhi-pride-parade-lgbtq-rights
LGBTQ community parade with pride in first for Bhopal, demand welfare board for Transgender/Sexual Minorities. (2017, 17 May). Indian Express. Retrieved on 17 July 2018 from, http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/may/17/lgbtq-community-parade-with-pride-in-first-for-bhopal-demand-welfare-board-for-transgendersexual-m-1605921.html
Loehwing, M. & Motter, J. (2009). Publics, Counter-publics, and the Promise of Democracy. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 42(3), 220-241. Retrieved on 14 February 2017 from, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25655356
Manjunath, K. (2018, 9 October). Delhi’s transgender community face police harassment despite Supreme Court’s Section 377 verdict. Scroll. Retrieved on 18 November 2018 from, https://scroll.in/article/894435/delhis-transgender-community-face-police-harassment-despite-supreme-courts-section-377-verdict
Mary, V. (2014, 3 November). Transcending gender barrier. The Hindu. Retrieved on 29 August 2017 from, http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/transcending-gender-barrier/article6560631.ece
Melendez, R. M. & Pinto, R. (2007, 24 July). It's Really a Hard Life': Love, Gender and HIV Risk among Male-to-Female Transgender Persons. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 9(3), 233-245. doi.org/10.1080/13691050601065909
Narrain, A. (2019, 6 September). Section 377 judgment on same sex relations: One year later, has anything changed?. The Hindu. Retrieved on 18 October 2018 from, https://www.thehindu.com/society/section-377-judgement-one-year-later/article29342570.ece
National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India and others, (2014, 15 April). Retrieved on 21 October 2017 from, https://www.lawyerscollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Transgender-judgment.pdf
NDTV. (2017, 1 December). I'm a Criminal. Youtube.com. Retrieved on 5 April 2017 from, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHZbeLdVxnY
One year after Sec 377 verdict: Stirrings of change but a long way to go for true inclusitivity. (2019, 6 September). Social Story. Retrived on 15 January 2020 from https://yourstory.com/socialstory/2019/09/section-377-supreme-court-verdict-inclusivity
Rajkumar. (2016). Education of Transgenders in India: Status and Challenges. International Journal of Research in Economics and Social Sciences, 6(11), 15-24. Retrieved on 13 November 2017 from, http://euroasiapub.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2ESSNov-4296.pdf
Revathi, A. (2010). The Truth About Me. India: Penguin Random House.
Sagar, T. (2018, 26 May). Legal Rights of Transgender under The Indian Law. Pleaders. Retrieved on 18 June 2018 from, https://blog.ipleaders.in/legal-rights-transgender-indian-law/
Saksena, D. (2014, 8 September). The Problems of Marginalised Groups in India. Academike. Retrieved on 1 March 2017 from, https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/problems-marginalized-groups-india/
Sangama: A Resource Centre on Sexuality. (n.d.). Retrieved on 12 March 2018 from, http://www.sacw.net/SexualityMinorities/sangama.html
Sczcepanski, K. (2020, 13 February). Who are the Dalits?. ThoughtCo. Retrieved on 24 February 2020 from, https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-indias-caste-system-195496
Section 377 verdict: Supreme Court legalises homosexuality. (2018, 6 September). Indian Express. Retrieved on 12 August 2018 from, http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/sep/06/section-377-verdict-supreme-court-legalises-homosexuality-1868345.html
Sehgal, M. (2018, 29 May). Transgenders block traffic in Mohali after police questions them in connection with highway loot. India Today. Retrieved on 18 September 2018 from, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/-transgenders-block-traffic-after-police-questions-them-in-connection-with-highway-lo-1245304-2018-05-29
Sharma, P. & Sundar, V. (2016, 27June). Indian cinema and its misguided portrayal of the LGBT community. The News Minute. Retrieved on 18 February 2018 from, https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/indian-cinema-and-its-misguided-portrayal-lgbt-community-45508
Singh, K.S. (1996). People of India: Communities, Segments, Synonyms, Surnames and Titles. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Singh, S. & Kumar, A. (2019, 31 March). Sexual Violence in Indian Public Sphere: Counter-public Creation and Deferral. Space and Culture, India, 6(5), 8–28. doi.org/10.20896/saci.v6i5.317
Singh, S.R. (2009). People and public sphere in India. Social Change, 39(2), 270-280. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F004908570903900206
Transgender and their lives: All you should know about it. (2015, 14 August). India Today. Retrieved on 21 October 2018 from, https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/transgender-and-their-lives-288249-2015-08-14
Vidya (2013). I am Vidya: A Transgender's Journey. New Delhi: Rupa Publications.
Vohra, V. (2016, 18 June). Who’ll Give Me Respect?: A Trans Woman On Why We Need To Change, Not Just Our Laws. Youth Ki Awaaz. Retrieved on 16 March 2018 from, https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2016/06/interview-transgender-woman-delhi/
Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counter-publics. Public Culture, 14(1), 49-90. doi.org/10.1215/08992363-14-1-49