One of the major steps in the lives of transgender people is establishing official documentation that attests to their identity as men, women or non-binary (third gender) persons. Transgender people are often subjected to further embarrassment, harassment and discrimination if their documentation does not match their gender presentation.
|NOTE: In April 2014, the Supreme Court of India declared that surgery, hormones and other steps are not necessary for legal recognition of gender change. Self-identification and (at most) psychological assessment will suffice. Please bear with us as we compile updated information for this sections. From the experiences of people known to us, the process is as follows:|
– Get a gender change affidavit (male to female, male to transgender, female to male, or female to transgender: all these possibilities are recognized) completed and notarized by a magistrate.
Please write to us if you have further questions, would like a template of the gender change affidavit, or have experienced challenges in the process.
WHERE NALSA DOES NOT WORK: Despite the NALSA ruling, the Ministry of External Affairs still requires medical verification in order to change gender markers on a previously existing passport. Steps for changing these in the passport are, thus, mostly similar to those listed in the ‘pre-NALSA’ situation. The exception is for those who apply for a passport for the first time, seeking third-gender designation on their passport. In such a situation, a self-declaration as third-gender will suffice.
UPDATE 2017: It appears from experiences of our trans* readers that passport officials insist that the medical verification be from a government doctor such as a civil surgeon. In one instance that we are aware of, a transman was able to have the doctor declare him as phenotypically a man based on top surgery alone. We have also heard of one situation where a passport office declined based on the fact that the applicant had not had a phalloplasty or metoidioplasty performed. The only one case we found online where a person – a transwoman – reported getting the gender changed on the passport pre-surgery is Safiya’s testimony here.
Steps for sex change in legal documents issued in India (based on experiences of community members pre-NALSA judgement: also applicable post-NALSA for passport documentation).
- Get the Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) done. Usually, the hospital where you get the surgery performed should be able to guide you about legal formalities to be completed, since this must be a routine and crucial requirement for all their patients of this type. Note: post-NALSA SRS is no longer necessary, but will still be required by MEA for passport gender change.
- Post-surgery, get a certificate of sex change by a board of doctors of the hospital concerned. Note: post-NALSA medical certificates based on SRS are not longer necessary. However a psychological assessment report may be needed.
- Place a newspaper advertisement to that effect . (Samples below)
Transman (FTM): “I, aged……….., having my date of birth as ………….., resident of …………………………and so far known as Ms…………………, have
changed my gender and name and will henceforth be known as Mr…………………”.
Transwoman (MTF): “I, aged……….., having my date of birth as ………….., resident of …………………………and so far known as Mr…………………, have changed my gender and name and will henceforth be known as Ms.…………………”.
- If you are employed, submit an application to your employer requesting necessary change in the records and issuance of a new identity card. Please include copies of your certificate of sex change from the hospital, a notarized affidavit to that effect and the newspaper advertisement. You can check with your HR department for more information Note: post-NALSA, the gender-change affidavit, newspaper ads and gazette notification will suffice.
- An application accompanied by copies of affidavit, newspaper advertisement and employer’s identity card to the following authorities for change in their records and issuance of fresh documents incorporating the change:
- Voter’s identity card
- Driving license
- Ration card
- Bank account and debit / credit card
- PAN Card
They have done it! Experiences of transgender people in legal change of gender identity documents (pre-NALSA, 2014)
Giving the Indian system its due credit, I have had very little, if any, trouble in getting my official identification documents altered as per my new physical gender. Driving license and Passport are through already, while PAN card is in the process of application.” – Gazal, GazalHopes blog (Nov 2009)
Two months ago, I applied formally to change my gender in the voter’s list. The government officials were very indifferent to me at first. Just a week ago, I got an acknowledgement slip saying the change has been made.” The gender in Rose’s all other identity proofs like the PAN card and passport have also been changed. – Rose Venkatesan via Times of India (Apr 2010)
Sample from Tamil Nadu Gazette
Sources: NTDV.com, Times of India, GazalHopes blog
Thanks: Rashmi, Kalki Subramaniam
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