As many as 71 transgenders have enrolled for Aadhaar card in the city, getting an identity for the first time.
However, with several departments still having just two categories of males and females, the transgenders say that this causes problems in availing even basic facilities. The estimated population of transgenders in the city is between 1,500 and 2,000.
One of the problem areas is the department of birth and death registration. Karanpal Chaudhry, junior statistics and data registrar (birth and death registrar), Chandigarh, says: “People do not come to get a birth certificate for a eunuch born to them as they consider it to be a shame. Their application for death certificate also never goes beyond two-three in a year. In that case too, we put them in the male category by default because there is no other provision. The rest of them do not get themselves registered at all.”
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Rajesh Jogpal, director, social welfare department, Chandigarh, says, “In Census 2011, eunuchs were merged under the male category during data collection. They were to be identified and separated into a third category later but the merger continued during the processing stage too. So the government is incapable of having an exact data about them.”
The social welfare department caters to the needs of elderly and infant eunuchs but eunuchs in the age group of 19-59 years find it hard to decide which government department to approach for help.
Sharing the problem of the community, Dhananjay Chauhan, an LGBT leader who heads Saksham Trust, says, “No one keeps eunuchs or even gays at home. Children at very younger age are brought to deras (residence for eunuchs). Without a family background and no option of gender, they become vulnerable. It is really hard to get government certificates. Thus only occupation they are left with is to earn through badhais (blessings).”
Kajal Mangal, a eunuch, is registered as a female in a voter card and as a male in corporate forms. One of the major hurdles the community faces is of having separate toilets in a workplace to save them from humiliation. Some universities and political parties like Aam Aadmi Party have also got the option of ‘others’ in their application forms. While birth certificate, death certificate, voter IDs and school admissions are still a problem, the social welfare department has plans to add a third gender column in OPDs.