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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Maharashtra Queer Network pushes for transgender identity cards: 10 apply so far

The social justice department officials said it has taken time as there are several issues that have to be sorted, like addresses of transgenders who often migrate have to be confirmed.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
August 14, 2021 12:33:23 pm
The identity cards and certificates will help apply for benefits under the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Pension scheme.

Maharashtra Queer Network, an initiative of Bindu Queer Rights Foundation, has been pushing earnestly to get transgenders to apply for identity cards and certificates. After nearly seven months of their efforts, ten applications have been filed at the Pune district social justice department.

The social justice department officials said it has taken time as there are several issues that have to be sorted, like addresses of transgenders who often migrate have to be confirmed. “We are sensitive to issues faced by transgenders and working on designing a proper format of the identity card,” social justice department officials told The Indian Express.

The director of Bindu Queer Rights Foundation and CEO of Maharashtra Queer Network, Bindumadhav Khire, who is providing free technical assistance to transgenders, said of the 10 applications filed so far at the social justice department, seven are for transgenders. The remaining are for changing of gender from female to male.

After a seven-month delay from the Centre, the Pune district social justice department authorities have now got directives to process transgender applications for Identity card and certificate in the district , Khire said. According to estimates, there are around 1,000 transgenders in Pune district.

“We are the first ones to have filed online and hard copies of identity cards,” Khire told The Indian Express .

The identity cards and certificates will help apply for benefits under the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Pension scheme. The certificate can also be used to change gender and name on documents like Aadhaar card, school leaving certificates, driving licence and so on, Khire said.

The ID and certificate will enable the government to reach out to the population for social welfare schemes. It will also help update official documents on exact number of transgender population in the district, Khire added.

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court judgment of NALSA v/s Union of India declared that transgenders could self-identify themselves as male, female or transgenders. The central/state governments were asked to frame various schemes for transgenders. Based on the judgment, the Government of India drafted The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act which was passed in Parliament and ratified by the President in 2019. Later on, Rules were formed and notified in the Government Gazette for issue of transgender ID cards and certificates.

Any transgender can apply for the certificate and ID to the District Collector in whose jurisdiction she/he is staying for at least the past one year. An online portal was created for transgenders to apply online. In December 2020 and January 2021, Bindu Queer Rights Foundation assisted 10 transgenders in applying online. But due to Covid-19 pandemic, there was no progress for about 7 months.

In early August, the applications were dispatched to the respective social justice departments of various districts and work started on processing of the applications, Khire said.

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