The Tamil Nadu government has directed the state’s district welfare officers to conduct zonal public consultations on the state’s LGBTQIA+ draft policy. After a demand for zonal meetings was raised during the first consultation meeting held in Chennai on January 20, the Madras High Court had granted three months’ time to the government to conduct these meetings and incorporate the feedback to the final draft. LGBTQIA+ persons across the state have also been asked to send their feedback to email@example.com before February 15, 2024. The policy was drafted by an 11-member committee headed by the Director of Social Welfare.
The dates of the zonal meetings are as below:
The meetings will be held at the district collectorate on the specified dates. LGBTQIA+ persons are urged to register, participate, and provide their comments and demands, which will then be considered by the drafting committee to be included in the final draft.
On January 29, the state government had appraised Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court on the developments in the policy making work. State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohammed Jinnah informed the court during the hearing that more zonal consultation meetings have to be held, and that public opinion must be integrated into the final draft before being submitted to the government. The court granted three months’ time for the state government to make the policy available to the public in Tamil and English, as well as to conduct state-wide public consultation meetings and incorporate the feedback.
The 11-member drafting committee was constituted by the state government in July last year to finalise the policy for LGBTQIA+ communities, with the joint director of Directorate of Social Welfare as the coordinator. Transgender activist Kalaimamani Sudha from the NGO Sahodaran; trans man Arun Karthick and psychologist Dr Vidhya Dinakaran from the Tamil Nadu Transgender Welfare Board; vice president of NGO SAATHII L Ramakrishnan; co-founder of Queer Chennai Chronicles Chandramoulee; intersex and Dalit activist Vinodhan; LGBTQIA+ activist Busaina Ahamed Shah; Madras High Court advocate Ajeetha BS; and IIT MAdras Associate Professor Tiju Thomas are members.
The draft policy was built based on an earlier report drafted by the State Planning Commission, who had submitted it to Chief Minister MK Stalin.