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Transgenders get own identity with ‘Others’ box in DL application

in INDIA, 05/10/2013

For the transgender community in Karnataka, it's a big step forward in their quest for equality under the law with their male and female fellow-citizens. In perhaps a first in the country, the state transport department has included an 'Others' box in the applications for driving licences, in effect enabling transgenders to apply for DLs under their very own identity and not, as has been the contrived practice so far, as either 'male' or 'female'.

The state government's decision has kicked off celebrations among the 40,000-plus community, which sees it as a vindication of its persistent lobbying with the authorities to make citizens' entitlements gender-neutral. In fact, Bangalore Mirror had earlier this year highlighted the lead taken by the corporate sector in this regard (' 'Other' gender now gets a box to tick on in recruitment forms', Feb 24).

"We scored a hoop when we voted as 'Others' for the first time in the assembly elections in May this year. Usually, male-to-female transgenders are categorised as `females', despite our demand for a separate identity. Now, the transport department has responded positively," said a sexual minorities activist.

The new applications for driving licences will come into effect from October 7, when the transport department switches over to the online format for its services. According to transport department officials, the driving licences obtained by transgenders can be used as proof of identity as well as address across the state, and will be useful when applying for other government benefits.

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