34-year-old Shane Anthony Mills, an IT professional and transgender activist based in Hyderabad was excited to visit Malaysia after being selected to represent India at an international summit in Malaysia. However, she is unable to file an e-visa application because there is no option provided for a third gender.
Shane has been invited to represent India at the Employee Resource Group (ERG) summit of Dell to be held in Penang, Malaysia on January 28. According to her tweets, she has booked tickets for January 25 but has not been able to complete her visa formalities yet. Bengaluru-based NGO Jhatkaa.org has now petitioned Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, asking her to intervene. The petition states that while Shane’s Indian passport mentions that she is a trans woman, the Malaysian consulate in Chennai asked Shane to change her gender to male in her passport as a solution.
Shane has been taking to Twitter for the past few days seeking help and has been making numerous calls to various authorities and embassies in different cities but to no avail.
Tweeting to Sushma Swaraj, she had written, “I am transgender [woman] from Hyderabad. I work as senior analyst for Dell. I have been nominated for Global Erg summit at Penang Malaysia to be held on January 28th 2019. However I am unable to get Evisa it has no option for my gender. Please help (sic)."
@MEAIndia @SushmaSwaraj— Shane Mills (@Shanemils18) January 18, 2019
Shane Anthony Mills I am transgender from Hyderabad. I work as senior analyst for Dell.I have been nominated for Global Erg summit at Penang Malaysia to be held on January 28 2019. However I am unable to get Evisa it has no option for my gender.Plz help
She had also tweeted to TRS working president KT Rama Rao, seeking his help.
Speaking to TNM, Shane said, “I have been trying to solve this through many channels. In fact, I have spent two days making calls to the Malaysian embassy in New Delhi and Chennai. But the response has been poor. Instead of taking up the issue, they redirect me to other authorities. As all these attempts failed, I had to reach out to Minister Sushma Swaraj, but there is no response from there too,” she lamented.
According to Shane, her colleagues at Dell also tried resolving the issue in Malaysia, but they have not been able to succeed.
“I am really disappointed that there is no ‘other’ option in the gender column. A few authorities have asked me to use my primary gender but on my passport, my gender is ‘trans woman’. If I travel using my primary gender and if the authorities question it or deport me for providing false information, it would be a huge embarrassment. I don’t want to face such humiliation,” she said.
Shane added, “I was really excited about this summit, I booked my tickets and hotel but I don’t know if the authorities will step in and help me out.”
The Jhatkaa petition now seeks intervention from Union Minister Sushma Swaraj so that Shane can travel to Malaysia.
According to the petition, “The Indian government has made huge strides by including ‘third gender’ on our passports. Now, we must go all the way and ensure Indian citizens who identify as the third gender are not humiliated when they apply for visas abroad. Shane deserves to represent our country in Malaysia -- let’s make sure we do our bit in making sure she gets there, on her own terms as a transgender person.”
TNM made attempts to reach out the Malaysian consulate in Chennai and a response is awaited.