Legal notices issued over medical camp to ‘verify’ transgenders
Transgender rights activist Sonali Dalvi pointed out that many who identify their gender in a certain way do not have the money for surgeries
Activists cite 2014 SC judgment and call out the DLASA, Faraskhana police inspector and Sassoon medical supd t Transgender activists from the state have issued legal notices to the District Legal Aid Service Authority (DLASA) secretary, Faraskhana police inspector and medical superintendent of Sassoon General Hospital, after the three decided to conduct a medical camp to identify transgender persons in Budhwar Peth and issue gender certificates to those ‘verified’.
The idea came about after Faraskhana cops claimed several transgender persons are illegally residing in the redlight area. This was strongly opposed by the transgender community statewide — they contend that the plan violates a 2014 Supreme Court judgment, issued after the National Legal Aid Service Authority (NLASA)
approached the apex court for the rights of transgender persons. Now, they said it is ironic that the district chapter of the authority is violating guidelines.
Advocate Vikas Shinde who is representing the complainants, told Mirror, “The landmark SC judgment had clearly stated that no citizen shall be forced to undergo medical procedures or hormone therapy as a requirement for legal recognition of their gender identity. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution also protects the right to selfdetermine one’s gender. Gender identity is integral to the dignity of an individual and at the core of personal autonomy. The very idea of ‘verifying’ anyone’s choice of gender identity has all the trappings of a human rights violation.”
On the latest development, city-based transgender rights activist Sonali Dalvi said, “It is serious and shocking to sideline the SC judgment. Self-identity is my right — even the President has no right to decide my gender, only I do. They may aim to ‘verify’ transgender persons who have undergone procedures like sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or laser treatment — but what of the underprivileged who stay in rural areas and can’t afford them?
Transgender is an umbrella term that includes intersex persons, cross, transmen, transwomen and others. Do the people in authority know these nuances? The SC has already said one can choose their gender and we have all the required documents. What kind of medical tests do they plan to conduct and who will do it? We would ask for a transgender doctor to conduct the tests as only they can understand us. When cis-men and cis-women don’t carry proof of their gender, why should we? The law is equal for all citizens of India.”
On a similar note, activist Vicky Shinde from Mumbai shared, “Such tests violate the rights of transgender persons. We already face so many difficulties while visiting doctors. No senior doctors are ready to check us and some come with trainee doctors, who are inept and humiliate us with their fumbling. Before making any such decision, the authorities should consider our suggestions. We are a large community, and encompass many who may not have had surgeries, but are still transgender persons. What about them? Will the government issue certificates to us only after conducting tests? Such a step could drive many to suicide.”
Now, the community has demanded the cancellation of the camp, and threatened to approach the Human Rights Commission, demanding both compensation and contempt of court proceedings against the organisers.
When Mirror contacted DLASA secretary Chetan Bhagwat, he said they have received no notice yet.
Courtesy: Pune Mirorr