National Cadet Corps
Cadet Hina Haneefa

Kerala High Court ruled today that Transgender people may join the The National Cadet Corps. This is a historic step towards equality for India’s transgender community.

    • The Kerala High Court today broke a barrier as it ruled that a transgender person can join the National Cadet Corps.
    • Hina Haneefa, a 22-year old transwoman, had moved the Kerala High Court for her right to be a part of the NCC.

The court said the NALSA judgment of 2014 and the Transgender Act of 2020 overrides the argument of the defense ministry that there were no provisions to enroll transgender people.

“I am the happiest person today. More than my personal victory, I opened the door for my community members. It is just the beginning. I hope eventually we can join the armed forces also,” said Haneefa, a first year degree student of the University College in Thiruvananthapuram. She moved the high court last year after authorities turned down her bid to join the NCC.

In her plea, she contended that she had joined the NCC at the age of 13 when she was in the school. At that time she was enrolled as a boy cadet. Two years back, she had undergone gender affirmation sex transformation surgery and enrolled at the University College for the degree course. But when she tried to enroll in the NCC she was denied admission saying it was against the existing Act.

The court held that she was entitled to enrolment in the senior girl’s division of the NCC and that the rejection of her request was unsustainable.

“What we need is acceptance, not sympathy. Though Kerala is the first state to come out with an exclusive transgender policy and transgender justice board, attitude of the society will have to change,” said Haneefa, adding her fight was not for her alone but for the entire community.

She said employment and accommodation remain two major challenges to the community in the state and expressed confidence things will change.

The National Cadet Corps is the youth wing of Armed Forces with its headquarters at New Delhi, Delhi, India. It is open to school and college students on voluntary basis. National Cadet Corps is a Tri-Services Organization, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Wing, engaged in grooming the youth of the country into disciplined and patriotic citizens. The National Cadet Corps in India is a voluntary organization which recruits cadets from high schools, higher secondary, colleges and universities all over India. The Cadets are given basic military training in small arms and drill. The officers and cadets have no liability for active military service once they complete their course.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender