Transgender Persons Act comes into effect.

Activists raise concerns about requirement of gender certificate

The Social Justice Ministry issued a notification on January 10, 2019, notifying the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, which was passed by Parliament on November 26 and given Presidential assent on December 5, 2019.


The Act aims to end discrimination against transgender persons in accessing education, employment and healthcare. It also recognises the right to self-perceived gender identity and provides for certification from a District Magistrate; in case a transgender person has had a gender-change surgery, the law says they can obtain a certificate from the medical facility where they had the operation, and apply for a change in their certificate.

However, many in the community have raised concerns about the requirement of a certificate from the district magistrate.

Activists have expressed concerns about the lack of awareness and sensitisation. Lovely Kumari, a transwoman, who had participated in the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer’s campaign to boost turnout among transgender voters in last year’s the Lok Sabha elections, said that trans people found it difficult to get papers.

“During the elections, we went door-to-door ... It was difficult because many of us have two different names on our documents. People don’t have any knowledge about this [about the transgender identity certificate under the Act],” she said.

However, Dr. Manabi Bandopadhaya, who became India’s first transgender college principal in 2015, said certification was needed to prevent misuse of welfare measures. “Transgender people are deeply deprived. Nothing will change till there is sensitisation of common people,” she said.

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