India is making a huge step forward for transgender people by simplifying the process of changing gender on official documents.
After passing a law for “trans rights” last year which had rightly disappointed the trans community since the sentences for people convicted of anti-trans hate crimes have been reduced and no protection has been put in place in public spaces and at work despite a major campaign launched by activists on the issue, the Indian government has now facilitated the procedure of recognizing gender change on official documents and to open new shelters for trans people rejected by their families.
Thanks to the new process, any transgender person will be able to apply for a gender identity change online through a new government portal that was launched on November 25 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
This eliminates the need to have one’s gender identity certified by the district magistrate in person.
They only have to upload an affidavit declaring their “self-perceived” gender identity.
The portal also offers the possibility of registering grievances and allows transgender people to be directly linked to the government facilities and schemes they might need.
While on paper it sounds pretty good, some concerns have been raised following the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s statement that it wants to use the online portal to create a database of trans people in India. How does the government plan to protect this data? And what will it do with it?
The initiative is good; it remains to be seen how it all evolves.
The Indian government has announced the opening of several shelters to accommodate trans people kicked out by their families.
Location of new trans shelters.
The shelter in Vadodara opened on November 25 and by March 31, 2021, other shelters are expected to be opened in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Patna, Kolkata, Jaipur, Raipur, Bhubaneswar, and Manipur.