Tamil Nadu's Gender & Sexual Minority (LGBTQ+) Policy A Testament To State's Commitment To Inclusivity & Empowerment: Madras High Court

Upasana Sajeev

30 Jan 2024 7:42 AM GMT

  • Tamil Nadus Gender & Sexual Minority (LGBTQ+) Policy A Testament To States Commitment To Inclusivity & Empowerment: Madras High Court

    The Madras High Court on Monday commended the Tamil Nadu government's efforts to bring out a policy- the Tamil Nadu Gender and Sexual Minority (LGBTQ+) Policy, for the welfare of the LGBTQ+ community. Justice Anand Venkatesh added that the policy was a testament to the state's continued commitment to inclusivity and empowerment. The court added that the policy had brought a...

    The Madras High Court on Monday commended the Tamil Nadu government's efforts to bring out a policy- the Tamil Nadu Gender and Sexual Minority (LGBTQ+) Policy, for the welfare of the LGBTQ+ community.

    Justice Anand Venkatesh added that the policy was a testament to the state's continued commitment to inclusivity and empowerment. The court added that the policy had brought a nuanced approach to services, inclusion, and sensitization and would help in creating an enabling environment, encourage voluntary action, and expand the outreach programs.

    β€œThe Tamil Nadu Gender and Sexual Minority (LGBTQ+) Policy, with its intricate details and comprehensive approach, stands as a testament to the state's purported commitment to inclusivity and empowerment. The subtlety with which the policy navigates the complex landscape of LGBTQ+ rights in Tamil Nadu contributes to a dialogue on diversity and acceptance,” the court said.

    Justice Anand Venkatesh has been passing a series of directions in an attempt to remove the stigma associated with the LGBTQ community and to ensure the welfare of the members of the community. When the matter was taken up on Monday, the State Public Prosecutor informed the court that the draft policy had been prepared after integrating the public opinion and had to be placed before the Government.

    After going through the policy, the court remarked that it was a commendable stride towards recognizing and addressing the rights and welfare of the trans and intersex community in the State. The court also agreed that the implementation of the final policy would require time as the interests of various stakeholders had to be considered. The court assured that neither the court nor the State was hastening the process and only a policy beneficial to the persons in the community would be made operational.

    Features of the Policy

    One of the primary features of the policy is that it recommends horizontal reservation in education and employment for transgenders and intersex persons. It also ensures that employees joining an establishment do not lose their jobs after their legal transition to a different gender identity. It also allows changes in legal name and gender based on state or central transgender ID cards without insisting on additional documents. The policy also suggests age relaxation in employment considering the academic hurdles, challenges, and time delays in asserting legal name, etc.

    The policy provides for gender-affirming medical and surgical care with standard protocols on the World Professional Association on Transgender Health Standards of Care for transgender and intersex persons and calls for the cessation of unethical two-finger tests on transmasculine persons.

    In prisons, the policy calls for compliance with the Home Ministry's advisory on the incarceration of transgender prisoners, stopping body checks for verifying gender and separate cells and showers for transfeminine and transmasculine persons.

    The policy also protects LGBTQ+ persons against violence and harassment by birth families and short-stay shelters for such persons.

    The policy also provides for various sensitization programs across institutions, sensitization for healthcare providers in cases of surgery, and sensitization of staff and counselors at shelter homes.

    The court has granted three months to the State to hold a larger consultation with the stakeholders and to expand the committee so that the interests of the trans community are better addressed.

    Case Title: Mrs S Sushma & Ors v The Director General of Police and Others

    Case No: WP 7284 of 2021 (Gen Crime)


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