In the backdrop of the Pride parades taking place all over the world, the Madras High Court made an astoundingly progressive judgement in a case pertaining to LGBTQ rights closer home, in India. The court ruled that a transgender software engineer be allowed to change the sex from “female” to “male,” as well as his birth name to his current name, in his school and college documents.
The order was in response to a petition filed by an individual who now identifies as male. The petitioner underwent an official sex reassignment surgery. Upon the completion of surgery, he was issued a certificate stating that he was a transgender. He then changed his first name, which was published in the Tamil Nadu government gazette.
Upon graduating from Anna University with a BE (computer science and engineering) degree in 2012, he got a job at a private company as a male. However, when he went back to his alma maters to make the necessary changes to his documents, the authorities refused to do so on account of the lack of clarity provided by the law on such matters. He then decided to file a petition.
Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana passed this historic judgement, and ordered the authorities to change the sex as well as the name on the paperwork in line with the petitioner’s current identity.
“He has also produced sufficient documents to prove his identity and the authorities ought to have considered his application on merit. In fact, the authorities, in the nature of the present case, should readily extend their helping hand rather than denying the same looking down upon them,” the judge said.
As the petitioner has produced legitimate medical proof issued by his doctors, the authorities from the institutions are to now verify these documents and make consequential changes within eight weeks.
Many government offices have now fallen in line as awareness increases. While the LIC and railway reservation forms both include the third gender option, Kochi Metro recently employed two dozen transgenders for various roles on the stations.