New Delhi, Nov 1st, 2022
On my first day of taking the Delhi metro, I was at the New Delhi Railway Station on the Yellow line. A CISF security woman clocked me and was asking me to go to the other queue. They didn’t even ask to see my ID card. Later when I showed it to them, they allowed me to proceed. Similar incidents happened at multiple stations many times throughout November and December.
I am Hayathi, currently pursuing a Diploma in Delhi. I came here to study and cannot go through discrimination on a daily basis to use public transportation.
While I was passing through a women’s check-point at the Hauz Khas metro station, a male CISF security personnel screamed at me: “why did you go into that line?” Female CISF staff was not present at the checking booth. I mentioned that I am a woman and that’s the reason I used it. Later they didn’t care even to apologize.
Later, on 14 December 2022 morning at the Munirka station, Gate number 3, another CISF person yelled at me to come to the men’s line. Once I had passed through the female security check, I did ask what the issue was.
There was no response from the male staff. Even though I frequently pass through the Munirka station, the staff still don’t recognize me. Later I got down at Kalkaji Mandir and while returning home, at gate number 2 a woman asked me to go to the men’s line. I told her that I am a woman, but she was not okay with passing me through. Even when I took off my mask, she was not convinced. When I enquired: “do you want me to show my ID card”? She looked at me with a different gaze and then let me through the security check.
On that same day, in the afternoon, I went to meet Jitender Rana ji (I.P.S) at Shastri Park. A security personnel at the gate stopped me. Since I don’t speak Hindi and they didn’t speak English, a person who knew Telugu/Kannada translated the conversation for us and they called another person who held a higher rank than them.
I recounted all my experiences and offered a solution:
1.CISF staff must not yell at people who they feel are going to the wrong security check. (They can ask to show an ID Card).
2.Have a separate queue for Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender non-conforming people at the security check-point.
They responded saying that I could not meet the IPS officer and minimized my issue by saying that you are just one woman who has this issue and you have to deal with it on your own. They asked me to leave the premises and I was forced to exit without having received any assistance to address my grievance.
Once I went back to the metro station (Shastri Park) Gate number 2 the male CISF staff was asking me to come towards the men’s section. I showed my ID card and when I went to the female CISF staff to show my ID card they asked me to keep my bag in the baggage scanner. A male senior CISF official then asked me to remove my mask and suddenly laughed at me stating that I didn’t have to wear a mask in Delhi. While I would have agreed to remove my mask if it had been requested with the appropriate intention, this did not feel acceptable to me.
I would request the authorities to consider implementing the below, which will help accommodate commuters with diverse gender identities.
1.Separate security lines for Transgender people.
2. Offer job opportunities for Transgender women and Transgender men in CISF at security checks in the metro.
3. Reserve at least 4 seats for Transgender women in the women’s compartment and 2 seats in every other compartment.
4. Sensitize CISF and other government officials’ staff about Transgender people, intersex folx, gender identity, gender expression, and train them on how to handle women who look masculine or have deeper voices and men who seem feminine to them.
Simply thinking back to these daily experiences is depressing for me and takes a toll on my confidence, which in turn affects my ability to feel safe to step out of my home. As a transgender person, I would like to lead a life where I’m treated with respect and basic human dignity. For this reason, I speak on behalf of my community and request public transportation officials to look into the treatment of transgender people from any class, race, caste, color, or religion when they are using these services.
On the 17th of March this year (2023), I received an email which showed that the Ministry of social justice had made an offer to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) that, “If required, this Department may also provide support for sensitization of Delhi Metro staff on matters related to Transgender persons.”
On the 21st of March 2023, I met with the higher officials at DMRC CISF Office and they expressed that they were ready to sensitize their supervisory staff at all metro stations in New Delhi.
I hope that this works to sensitize the various staff personnel and protects transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people from facing any discrimination while using public transport.