Gender change on paper turns nightmare for transgenders

The State Government Printing Press still demands a Sex Reassignment Surgery certificate to publish a transgender/name change notification

January 05, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 22, 2016 10:05 pm IST - Hyderabad:

It is hard enough to get a change of name published in the State government gazette but when it comes to making a gender change noted, the process is almost impossible to deal with.

At least so it seems for several transgender women and men who want to declare a transition from male or female to the third gender.

And here’s why. Despite the Supreme Court’s Nalsa Judgement, 2014 that allows anyone to “self identify” as a transgender person even without undergoing any surgical process, the State Government Printing Press at Chanchalguda still demands a Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) certificate as a requisite to publish a transgender/name change notification. As per estimates, at least one third the transgender population of 40,000 in the state do not have their third gender declaration on paper, thanks to this rule.

Problem of documents

This has made several transgender women remain ‘men’ on documents, including passport and voter identity cards, even years after shedding their male identity, said members of the Telangana Hijra Transgender Samithi, who are now waging a war against the practice.

The sheer length of the red-tape transgender people face is appalling, they cited. “When a transgender woman produced a copy of the Nalsa judgement, officials told her they are not aware of any such rule.

The officers even alleged her of printing the judgement out on her own,” said Vyjayanti Vasantha Mogli, a transwoman.

Ironically, the practice is being carried out even as the Telangana government promised BC status for transgender persons.

For transwomen who have meagre resources to get by, the four fold gazette process itself is too difficult to handle. As per rules, those declaring a gender change should first get notarised affidavit on stamp paper, a newspaper notification that declares gender and name change and certification from a civil court magistrate.

“Not many people can afford or even try to go through this process,” Karthik Bittu, a transgender man said.

Union draft bill

The draft bill proposed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is only going to make things worse, opines Mr. Bittu.

“The bill demands a certification process by an eight-member panel out of whom only two are transgender persons. This will only make the already red-tape bound gender change process even more difficult,” he said.

In fact, the Union and State governments should follow the Nalsa judgement which states that autonomy of a transperson when it comes to his or her gender should be preserved, the Samithi members, who are currently managing an online campaign against several clauses of the bill, said.

The State Government Printing Press at Chanchalguda still demands a Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) certificate as a requisite to publish a transgender/name change notification

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