Kaushal Bodwal


Through this paper, I aim to understand how the notion of surveillance as it functions in state welfare contributes to the construction of transgender identity. By looking critically at welfare mechanisms not only as failures in proper implementation but also as inscribing technologies of security on bodies through surveillance techniques, I try to question the value of state legibility by focusing largely on its relation to the security apparatus. This security apparatus does not simply function through the law but through a host of institutions, particularly psychology and medicine, which allow the state to regulate and employ dominant understandings of gender and transgender selves in the governing processes. In doing so, I rely on transgender narratives of engagement with these fields. I reflect on how the state has dealt with the question of transgender persons more recently through an analysis of the third gender category in NALSA v Union of India, and its transposition to Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

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