Two years after Kerala unveiled its highly-touted transgender policy, the community still doesn’t have a third column for transgender persons in the state Public Service Commission application forms.
The application forms issued by Kerala Public Service Commission have only two categories - male and female. Though this has been highlighted to KPSC and the state government, no action has been taken so far.
While the state was the first to unveil a transgender policy in November 2015, it is yet to include a column for transgender persons in the PSC applications. The policy was mooted with the aim of ending societal stigma towards transgender persons and helping enforce their constitutional rights.
In early October, Anu Bose, a transgender person had filed a petition seeking a separate column for the transgender community be included in the PSC application form.
Following this, on Wednesday the Kerala High Court passed an interim order stating, “The petitioner is a transgender who is in the process of conversion to a female. In such circumstances, the petitioner shall apply as a female and the application shall be accepted by the Public Service Commission.”
Anu, a post graduate in Mathematics from Cochin University of Science and Technology, is presently preparing for the civil service exam and is an IPS aspirant. She told the media that the absence of the third column limits opportunities for transgender persons. “Lack of a third column for transgenders limits opportunities for qualified persons from our community. As long as we are not qualified to write PSC exams, we are not recognized as citizens of the state,” she said.
While Anu took to Facebook to say that the HC order comes as an interim relief to her, many transgender persons have pointed out that the ruling defies the 2014 Supreme Court judgement that recognised the transgender community as a third gender along with male and female.
Sree Kutty, President of Sexual Minority Community said, “Kerala High Court’s order defies the Supreme Court’s order that said transgenders should be identified and defined as a third gender. This is completely unacceptable. I don’t want to identify myself as a female transgender. Where will I apply for jobs then? There are transgenders who identify themselves as males. Whom should they approach for employment? Kerala HC hasn’t done its homework before it passed the order.”
In its order in 2014, the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court had called gender identification as essential, and observed, “Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue. Transgenders are also citizens of India. The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender.”