Under recommendations by the Madras High Court, the Tamil Nadu government issued a glossary as to how people from the third gender have to be addressed or described. The glossary that was published under the government gazette of the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department now awaits approval from the Law department before it can get circulated to the Chief Minister.
The court has granted time till September 2 for the same, after which the approved list would be mandated with statutory backing. Throughout the entire process, the court has made it a point not to push aside the case further and ensure that the community gets addressed with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Creating A Space Of Equal Respect And Honour
The glossary, including the accepted terms to be used for the LGBTQ community, was published in the official gazette of the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment department on August 20, 2022. A copy of the same was presented to the court of Justice N Ananth Venkatesh by Additional Advocate-General on August 23. As reported by The Print, once approved by the designated officials, the terms mentioned in the gazette would have statutory backing, and the LGBTQIA+ community would be entitled to be addressed or described only by using the accepted terms.
The move was decided to be implemented in an attempt to ensure a dignified and respectable space for the LGBTQIA+ community. Considering the AAG's submissions, the judge has recorded the glossary and asked all visual and print media to address the third gender only using the notified terms whenever required.
The Process That Went Behind It All
The process of getting the glossary issued and drafting the changes in regard to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules has been going on for over a year now. The judge strongly felt that consuming more time to finalise the same would be unacceptable, considering that the community has been sidelined from the mainstream for too long a period. He regarded the issue as top priority and asked the AAG to get the approval and implement the policy and rules at the earliest.
Earlier, the judge had approved a period of six months to scrutinise the rules drafted by the Director of Social Welfare in compliance with the Central Act, 2019. Yet another period of six months was then requested for the Transgender Welfare Board secretary to prepare the final exclusive policy in consultation with the concerned stakeholders, including officials from the State Planning Commission. Thereafter, the Transgender Policy would be required to be sent across for approval of the Law department before it gets circulated to the Chief Minister.
The judge conveyed that urgency must be shown in finalising the policy and the rules if the government is genuinely looking out for the upliftment of the LGBTQIA+ community. Having said this, the court granted time till September 2, after which the matter would be taken up again.
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