Why Are DBA Transgender Folx Demanding Horizontal Reservation : All You Need To Know

Horizontal reservation is intersectional, in the sense that it is provided for within each vertical reservation category.

Origins of discussion regarding reservation for transgender community

The verdict of the Supreme Court on the NALSA case was a major milestone as it was the first time that the Apex judiciary institution discussed gender identity at length and recognized the existence of gender beyond the cis-binary.

Effect of the verdict

On April 15, 2014, the Court, in its judgment, directed the Centre and State governments to take necessary steps such as:

  • Provide for trans identity to be registered in official documents
  • Recognizing the socio-economic oppression of the transgender community through affirmative action such as reservations
  • Developing social welfare programme keeping in mind the trans community

Implementation of NALSA verdict

The Southern states of the country began considering implementing these steps. In August 2021, the State government of Karnataka was ordered by the High Court to recommend reservation for the trans community in state-owned public companies and statutory bodies.

The Tamil Nadu Government notified transgender persons as among the ‘Most Backward Class’ category, which is similar to the OBC in treatment.

In Kerala, the State Government announced the reservation of 2 seats in all undergraduate and postgraduate courses for trans persons.

Various media reports have also suggested that the Union Government has moved a cabinet note that proposes to add the transgender community to the OBC category.

What is vertical and horizontal reservation?

Vertical reservation in India is often provided for historically oppressed caste-based communities.

Horizontal reservation is intersectional, in the sense that it is provided for within each vertical reservation category.

However, by treating transgender folx as part of the Other Backward Class category, the system is blind to the intersectional nature of oppression that a trans person may face if they belonged to a historically oppressed caste or community, as opposed to a trans person who may have caste privilege.

Caste privilege can afford a person access to resources – financial, social, legal, etc – that allow them to navigate systems in a manner that protects them and their identity to a certain extent.

In the past, through stories of lived experience and news coverage, Gaysi Family has reported on how healthcare, legal identity, educational & career opportunities, and advocating for access to resources in society, have been made possible for queer folx who belong to a certain socio-economic location and access to various forms of capital (including social media presence and clout).

Currently, DBA transgender activists are leading the movement to secure horizontal reservation for trans folx in India.

A brief history of reservation for trans community

In 2014, Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi Siva proposed a private bill that provided for horizontal reservation for transgender and intersex persons. The bill was passed unanimously in Rajya Sabha that year.

However, with the amendment made to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in December 2019, many important provisions, including that of horizontal reservation, were done away with.

You can endorse horizontal reservation for transgender persons through this link.

For more information on the movement for such reservation, you can get in touch via email and write to

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Tejaswi is journalist and researcher whose attention is captured by post-colonial human relationships at a time of the Internet of Things. She can't wait to become a full-time potter soon, though!

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