This article argues that religious mythologies and cultural narratives about the timelessness of gender diversity in South Asia frame the formation of the transgender subject of rights in India. The authors interrogate a verdict issued by the Supreme Court of India in 2014 and the Transgender Person Bill of Rights (2018) to ascertain the frames of recognition accorded diverse transgender communities in India. This is followed by an analysis of the category of eunuch created and criminalized by British colonizers and the present‐day category of transgender based on self‐affirmation of gender. The conflating of religious mythologies into deliberations about transgender constitutional rights reveals how the supposedly secular rights – based claims of and for transgender communities are mediated through a predominantly Hindu Brahmanical imagination of the rights‐bearing transgender subject. The authors examine autobiographical narratives by three prominent transgender rights activists in India: Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Living Smile Vidya, and A. Revathi, who provide conflicting visions about the role of religion and state recognition of transgender identities. The authors argue the need for theorizing transgender subjectivities from non‐Brahman, Dalit, transmasculine, and non – North Indian perspectives. Such theorizations reveal the potential of coalitional transgender activisms that seek to disrupt Hindu‐nationalist hailing of the transgender subject of rights in contemporary India. The authors offer new directions in transgender studies by showing how religious narratives, ritual and performance lie at the heart of transgender subject formation while gesturing toward how such formation risks subsuming transgender identities within (Hindu) nationalist projects.

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