Assam’s transgenders feel insecure

Most of their names don’t feature in the NRC, says activist-lawyer Baruah
The Supreme Court’s judgment on Article 377 decriminalising same sex relationships may have been celebrated across the country but not by the transgender community of Assam. Rather, it was a “difficult and glum day”, said Swati Bidhan Baruah, an activist-lawyer and first transgender judge of the Lok Adalat in the State.
Ms. Baruah said transgenders of Assam were feeling “deeply insecure” as the names of a majority of them did not feature in the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “If they are finally not considered Indians, then how does it matter how the country’s laws are changed or enacted,” asked Ms. Baruah, who is the founder of the All Assam Transgender Association (AATA).
The AATA has nearly 20,000 members, of which 7,500 are registered with the organisation. However, the 2011 Census indicates that Assam has 11,374 transgenders, which “may have increased” in the past seven years, the activists said. Names of an “overwhelming majority” did not feature in the NRC, Ms. Baruah said.
Name change issues
“Transgenders often change their names and that may cause a fresh set of problems in establishing them. They may do it after sex reassignment, or for other reasons,” she noted. The AATA has filed a petition with the names of the transgenders who have been left out of the list “in a sealed envelope” in the Supreme Court.
Following the filing last July, the Supreme Court has asked the State government to reply to the issues raised by Ms. Baruah as a petitioner. “We expect them to reply by the next hearing on September 19,” Ms. Baruah said. Prateek Hajela, State Coordinator for the NRC, did not respond to calls and messages by The Hindu .
Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/assams-transgenders-feel- insecure/article24905891.ece

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