AHMEDABAD: Even though the Supreme Court officially recognized the third gender in a landmark ruling in 2014, little seems to have changed in the plight faced by the community.
Seeking to address its issues, the transgender community of Gujarat, supported by Vadodara-based Lakshya Trust and Voluntary Health Organization based in Chennai, has sought to form a third-gender welfare board in the state. Members of the community have submitted a charter of their demands to principal secretary, Kamal Dayani.
A host of issues, right from discrimination to lack or no access to basic facilities, such as affordable housing and healthcare to endemic procedural delays in obtaining government-approved identity proof – the list is endless.”Providing space on columns in government documents is nowhere enough for recognizing third gender rights,” said Sylvester Merchant, community leader, Lakshya Trust. “While the community is already battling discrimination, lack of special provisions is a major hindrance in the community’s upliftment,” said Merchant.Some of the members of the community also shared their experiences of coming out and the issues they encountered. One of the issues discussed was the struggle for change of name after undergoing a sex realignment surgery.
“The gazette officer usually seeks a certificate from a civil surgeon who is not always present at a government-run hospital. The process is lengthy and cumbersome in absence of laws which makes it complicated,” said Manavee Vaishnav, a trans-woman, who is associated with Lakhsya Trust.
The community also sought declaration of April 15 as Transgender Day as the landmark SC judgement was pronounced on April 15, 2014.