The Tamil Nadu government on Friday, June 18, informed the Madras High Court that the state will extend COVID-19 assistance of ₹ 4,000 to all trans persons irrespective of whether they possessed the registration cards or not.
Advocate-General (AG) R Shanmugasundaram told the court that the only reservation of the state is that while it may not insist on strict registration documents or identity proof, the grant should not be abused and some form of recording of the name and address of the beneficiary should be followed.
The court on June 14 had said that Tamil Nadu should consider whether all applicants who have applied to the Transgender Board by May 31, 2021, (and not beyond) may be considered as transgenders to obtain the benefit announced by the state, reported LiveLaw.
Only 2,956 Transgender Persons Benefitted So Far
In response, the state submitted before the court that only 2,956 transgender persons have been provided with the first installment of cash relief and there are a further 8,493 such people who are entitled to receive the same benefit.
This move by the government comes after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by TransRightsNow Collective founder Grace Banu. She highlighted that most members of her community do not possess a ration card, which is needed to avail government aid.
Banu pointed out that the pandemic has been very difficult for the transgender community, who are struggling to make ends meet.
Banu told The Indian Express that transgender persons may not have a ration card owing to problems faced by them when they change their name and gender identity.
She requested for a separate vaccination drive for transgender persons and assistance with online registrations. She pointed out that most of them do not have access to the internet and language is also a barrier for them.
"In the National Portal for Transgender Persons there are only two languages – English and Hindi, how can people who don't know these two languages can apply? The central government hasn't provided proper guidelines to the state government. We ask them to allow the state government to continue issuing the state government ID cards which are needed as proof to claim the government benefits," she said.
She also urged for vaccine awareness drives to avert fears of vaccination among transgender communities undergoing hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery.