The Centre has said that transgender people will no longer have to go through a medical examination to declare their desired sex, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment issued the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules 2020 on Monday.
The rules were first issued in a form of draft in July, inviting suggestions and objections from the public. The LGBTQ community had criticised the draft for taking away their dignity as it mandated that an officer, such as a district magistrate, would verify and certify the gender of a person. Critics said the procedure will subject transgender people to intrusive medical scrutiny.
Now, the district magistrate would issue the certificate on the basis of an affidavit filed by a transgender, who will declare their sex as self-perceived by them. The applicant will receive their identity cards within 30 days after the application is submitted, The Times of India reported.
Further, if a transgender person undergoes a medical procedure to change their sex and needs a revised certificate, they would have to submit an application to the district magistrate along with a certificate given to them by the chief medical officer or superintendent of the hospital concerned.
The application for declaring gender will have to be made physically to the district magistrate till an online portal is functional. Parents of transgender children can file the application on their behalf. Transgender persons who had officially recorded their change in gender before the new rules came into force will not be required to submit a fresh application for an identity certificate.
The rules also direct state governments to form welfare boards for transgender persons in order to protect their rights and assist them in accessing schemes and welfare measures framed by the Centre.
The state governments have been asked to review the existing schemes related to education, health, vocational training, self-employment and others to include transgender persons. Also, the rules require the construction of infrastructure for transgender people such as separate hospital wards and washrooms within two years.
The state governments will also have to form a transgender protection cell under the district magistrate and the director general of police to monitor cases of offences against transgender persons.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 was passed in Rajya Sabha in November 2019, after the Upper House voting against sending the legislation to a select committee. The bill was passed in Lok Sabha in August. Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot had introduced the bill in the Lower House in July 2019 and in the Upper House on November 20 in the same year.
The bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the one assigned at birth and that a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender person, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.