The Madras High Court has directed Tamil Nadu Nurses and Midwives Council to allow Rakshika, who is a trans woman, to register under the third gender.

23-yr-old Rakshika from TN becomes first Indian nurse to register under third gender
news Gender Saturday, October 26, 2019 - 11:19

For over a year, Rakshika Raj had been without a job. The 23-year-old had completed her medical course but had been in a fix for months - the Tamil Nadu Nurses and Midwives Council (TNNMC), the statutory body for registering nurses in the state, only has ‘male’ and ‘female’ on their applications under the gender box, whereas Rakshika wanted to register under ‘third gender’.

She then moved the Madras High Court, stating that as per the Supreme Court order in 2014, transgender persons can apply for education and employment under the ‘other’ gender category. “In its response to our prayers, the nursing council had said it is not easy to do so (register her under the third gender), that they will first have to bring in an amendment in the Nursing Council Act. They have agreed to temporarily register and enrol me as a trans woman, but only after amendment will the category be included,” Rakshika tells TNM.

Hearing her case, the Madras High Court directed TNNMC to allow Rakshika to register under third gender. Disposing of Rakshika’s petition, Justice Jayachandran has asked the council to register her name as a ‘woman transgender’ for now, till an official government order is passed on the same.

On Friday, Rakshika became the first person in India to register as a trans nurse and midwife in the state of Tamil Nadu. But even in her victory, Rakshika is only partly happy. There is much that needs to be done for the trans community, she says.

“In 2014, the NALSA judgment has said that a category for transgender persons will have to be included in all departments. But so far, it has not been implemented by the government. Everywhere, every single time, a trans person has to fight for his or her right, tooth and nail, to get it. We don’t get it easily, either. Only after we go to court, are they obliged to do it, after the order is passed,” Rakshika tells TNM. 

The registrar of the council has told Rakshika that they are taking all steps to implement the amendment. “Not sure what steps are being taken,” Rakshika says. 

Rakshika, however, does not hesitate to call this a win. "But this is surely a win. It has become a chance for the younger generation to enrol themselves as a transgender person," Rakshika says. 

(With inputs from Anjana Shekar)

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