Kerala leads the way once again. As a step towards supporting the transgender community, the Kerala government has ordered to include Transgender as a gender option in all application forms in its departments.
State Health Minister, K K Shailaja, said that an order has been issued to add the transgender/transwoman/transman option along with the options of female/male in all application forms related to the Kerala government. This move is aimed at uplifting the transgender community
Kerala is the first state in India which declared a Transgender Policy after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in 2014 which firmly established the right to equality and equal protection for transgender persons. It was also the first Indian state to set up a board for the welfare of transgenders in 2016 to ensure justice and equality of opportunity for the community.
According to media reports, this decision was taken after understanding that the inclusion of this category in the application form would be beneficial to transgender individuals as their identities are clearly stated in the Transgender Personnel Protection of Rights Act, 2019.
Consistent with the 2014 Apex Court judgment, the state policy allows for the self-identification of a person as a Transgender. The policy also recommends the establishment of District-level Transgender Boards that can register and issue identification cards.
Earlier this month, the government of Kerala had announced programmes for the transgender community, including special scholarships to transgender students and wedding grants to trans couples.
Under this programme, Rs 1,000 per month is allotted to each Trans student studying in Class VII to Class X for a period of 10 months. Those pursuing higher secondary education (Class XI and XII) would be receiving Rs 1,500 per month and those pursuing graduate and postgraduate degrees, diploma, and professional courses would be getting Rs 2,000 per month.
Besides this, the department also decided to extend Rs 30,000 as financial aid for Trans couples who enter into wedlock legally, in the current financial year. The scheme is aimed at helping Trans people build a social life through marriages.
(Edited by Anju Narayanan)