Tamil Nadu publishes glossary to address people from the LGBTQ community

The edition of the glossary in the gazette will have legal support.

Chennai:

The Tamil Nadu government has published a glossary, as suggested by the Madras High Court, on how third gender persons should be addressed/described.

The Additional Advocate General (AAG) told Justice N Ananth Venkatesh on Tuesday that the glossary was published in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette of the Women’s Social Welfare and Empowerment department on August 20 this year.

He also delivered a copy of it to the judge and argued that by virtue of the publication of the glossary in the official gazette, the terms mentioned in it would have legal support and whenever the LGBTQIA+ community is approached by a forum, it is mandatory to describe them only using the terms that have been mentioned in the gazette.

Doing so attempts to treat people in the LGBTQIA+ community with more dignity and respect, the AAG said.

The judge recorded AAG’s submissions and clarified that all stakeholders, including visual and print media, should take note of the notice and address individuals in the community using only the terms notified when necessary.

With regard to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, the judge was told that the draft rules had been received from the Director of Social Welfare and require scrutiny and compliance with the Central Law, 2019. It also requires approval of the Legal department. , prior to distribution to the Chief Minister. Therefore, the judge was asked to give six more months to finalize the rules and notify them.

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The judge was also told that for the Transgender Policy, instructions had been issued to the secretary of the Transgender Welfare Board to prepare the policy exclusively for such persons in consultation with the stakeholders involved, including State Planning Commission officials. A period of six more months was sought to reach the final policy.

However, the judge found that six more months to finalize the Transgender Policy and the rules under it is totally unacceptable. It is noted that this topic is not being given priority. This process takes more than a year and it is not known why the six-month period is sought, the judge wondered.

The government must bear in mind that people belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community have been marginalized from the mainstream of society for far too long and it is high time the implementation of policy and regulations is given top priority. If the government is really willing and serious about improving people who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, some urgency should be shown to finalize the policy and rules.

This court hopes that the government appreciates the concern shown by him, the judge said and gave time until September 2, when the matter will be taken up again.

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