FROM A STAFF CORRESPONDENT
SHILLONG, Jan 23: The Meghalaya Cabinet has amended the Birth and Registration Rules, 1999 to officially accommodate transgender community in all spaces and formats as per a Supreme Court order that has been circulated through the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Soon after the Cabinet meeting held at the State Secretariat here on Tuesday, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told newsmen that the decision to amend nearly two-decades-old rules is in consonce with the apex court ruling and the circular.
Asked specifically whether all official forms will have a transgender column for ticking, Sangma said, “We have amended the rules and all forms related to birth and death and any other official form will have a third option in place.”
Biologically, there is no transgender. So, a question arises on how they can be registered in birth certificates. On this, the Chief Minister said, “We are following the MHA circular and in due course of time the registry will determine the third option.”
Going by the endorsed format, the option of others for transgender community will be featured along with the existing male and female in all official application forms and other government documents, including certificates, as specified by Sangma.
Till date, barring certain NGOs, there is no official data on transgender communities in the State. And though there are a few transgender individuals, they prefer to hide their identity. Rubi Subbah, senior lawyer and activist for the transgender, in her reaction to the Cabinet decision told The Sentinel, “The decision is welcome.”
“In terms of population, they are not huge, but they face discrimition and social stigma if they want to be acknowledged what they are,” said Subbah, who is also a member of Meghalaya State Women Commission. She added that the notion of transgender was misunderstood on different platforms.