The Kerala HC ruled transgenders can partake in sporting competitions in any category in the absence of a special transgender discipline. The transgender woman, in the case moved a plea to participate in a district-level Judo tournament but wasn’t allowed by the organisers, citing the participant's sex profile doesn’t qualify to take part in the competition.
Justice VG Arun stated that transgender persons have equal right to participate in competitions and in case there is no stated separate category, they have all the right to take part in the sporting event in the category of their choice.
"It is my considered opinion that a transgender person has equal rights to participate in competitions. Here, in the absence of any category for participating transgender persons, the petitioner is seeking to participate in her identity as woman. If the organisers have not made arrangements for participating transgenders, then the petitioner will have to be permitted to participate in her chosen category," the court said in the order.
The petitioner's counsel, Advocate Dhanuja M S, citing the apex court decision in the National Legal Services Authority Vs Union of India case, which recognised transgender as a ‘gender identity’, contended that the petitioner’s self-perceived identity is as a woman and after undergoing a surgery, has been under a hormone therapy for the last five years.
Thereby, the Kerala HC permitted the petitioner to participate in the competition, directing the Kerala Judo Association and the Kozhikode District Judo Association to clear the application of the petitioner.