This is the first time a large group of transgender persons has been issued gender identity cards and certificates in the state.

Payal’s joy knew no bounds when a gender identity card certifying her transgender status was given to her by District Collector Dr Rajesh Deshmukh in Pune on Tuesday. Along with Payal, 11 other transgender persons received their gender identity cards and certificates on the same day. “I am very happy today. My only request is that the government should provide employment so that we can stop collecting alms to earn our livelihood,” said Payal (32).

This is the first time a large group of transgender persons has been issued gender identity cards and certificates in the state. Thane and Solapur district administrations have issued three and four such certificates respectively till now, Sangeeta Dawkhar, assistant commissioner of Social Welfare Department, Pune district, told The Indian Express.

“An official survey will be carried out to ascertain the population of transgender persons in Pune district,” Dawkhar said, adding that so far, 24 applications are being processed.

Meanwhile, a small event was held on Tuesday at the District Collectorate so that awareness could be generated to encourage more transgender persons to apply for certificates and identity cards.

An emotional Mamta Yadav (38) held her certificate and applauded the move. “We now have society backing us… it really does feel nice,” she said.

Saanvi More (26) and other members of the community also participated in the event to understand the relevance of getting this card.

For Trinay (30), who works in a BPO firm and is a transgender man (identified as female at birth), the document now paves the way for his dream to be identified as a man. “The feeling of being trapped in a woman’s body is overwhelming. I have faced several challenges from a young age, when relatives forced me to wear bangles and keep my hair long… but all I wanted to do was run with the boys and play,” said Trinay.

“Getting this card is a big achievement. As per rules, I can now apply for transition from transgender to male status and upload other documents for that purpose,” he said. While Trinay is raising funds for a sex reassignment surgery, getting this document has now made the process simpler, he said.

Following the notification of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights), Rules, 2020, a national portal for transgender persons had been set up. This portal enables a transgender person to apply for a certificate and identity card as per their “self -perceived identity”, which is an important provision of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

While not many are aware of the initiative, Bindumadhav Khire, coordinator of Maharashtra Queer Network, said they have been assisting transgender persons with the format of the affidavit declaring their gender, and then uploading other details so that identity certificates can be issued.

“Members of the transgender community can now use these identity cards and certificates to change their gender and name on documents like Aadhaar cards, school leaving certificates, driving licences and so on. This will also help them apply for benefits of various government schemes,” said Khire.

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