Note: This article has been drafted with inputs from Philip C. Philip, a Delhi-based genderqueer social activist who currently works with the Human Rights Law Network on transgender initiatives. You can contact HRLN on firstname.lastname@example.org.
In April 2014, the Supreme Court passed the landmark NALSA (National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India), declaring the fundamental right of self-identification of gender among three categories – female, male, and transgender. We are also aware of and infuriated by the government’s revised Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 that threatens to override the NALSA verdict and impose stipulations of sex-reassignment surgery (SRS) on self-identification either as female or male. The Lok Sabha has cleared this dreaded bill on August 5, condemned by protesters as ‘Gender Justice Murder Day’. We await the Rajya Sabha’s decision in the winter session of Parliament. Meanwhile, many of us trans folx are largely in the dark about the process of getting the name and gender change. Of course, there are online resources that chalk out the various steps and their requirements. However, they tell us little about either the bureaucratic transphobia that one may encounter or the support system that one can depend upon. In informal circles or blogs, we have come across accounts of those who got all their documents updated without hassles for an ‘extra cost’. We have also heard of stories where the person was compelled to seek legal recourse and waited for months for a mere formality.
Here is a guide on everything you wanted to know about name and gender change.