Pune: In 2014, the Supreme Court in a judgment, gave the 'third gender' status to hijras or transgenders, asking the government to take steps to mainstream them. Earlier, they were forced to write male or female against their gender. The SC asked the Centre to treat transgenders as socially and economically backward. Yet, transgenders are still struggling with identity to avail facilities from the government.
The judgment is not followed strictly by the government departments. Transgenders have been given the option of getting themselves registered as 'others' in voter and Aadhaar cards, but the same is not the case with the Permanent Account Number (PAN) card used by taxpayers. Sunil aka Daljit Singh, a transgender from Pimpri, said, “I recently applied for a PAN Card. There was no option for third gender. So I had to withdraw it. Even after the SC verdict, our community is still struggling for rights.”
Sonali Dalvi, another transgender, said, "I made my PAN Card three years ago. I faced a similar issue. As I had no option for registration, I had to select my preferred option as female.
These are not just one or two cases, there are problems with many transgenders. Neither the society, nor the government is accepting us and giving us the rights we are entitled to. We have several other issues, like we do not get treated properly in hospitals, we are not allowed to work in reputed places, and if any person from our community starts working in a reputed office, the person is ill-treated.”
Bindu Madhav, President of Samapathik Trust, a city-based NGO working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Hijara, Intersex community, said, “Our first priority is to issue Aadhaar Card and voting card to transgenders. We are aware that getting a PAN card is an issue for the people in our community. We will be organising a protest march to fight for our rights.”
As per the Supreme Court ruling in 2014, every institution must include 'third gender' category. If any department seems to not have updated its system, then a collective writ petition should be filed by NGOs working for transgenders, suggested Advocate Rama Sarode, a city-based advocate.