Madras High Court allows plea by transgender for gender change in school records

A transgender software engineer who underwent sex reassignment surgery petitioned the court to change his gender in all previous records.

Published: 27th June 2017 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th June 2017 08:14 AM   |  A+A-

Representative image of transgender women

By PTI

CHENNAI: A transgender software engineer, who underwent sex reassignment surgery from female to male, would be able to change the sex as 'male' in school and college records as the Madras High Court has issued a directive to this effect.

Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana passed the order on a petition by the engineer, who was born a woman and named S Rekha Kaliamoorthy, seeking a direction to authorities to change the sex as male and name as K Gowtham Subramaniam in school/college and other records consequent to the surgery.

Rekha, as she was then known, passed out of Anna University with a B.E (computer science and engineering) degree in 2012 with distinction. She said though identified as a female at the time of birth, she had always felt and lived like a man.

She consulted a surgeon who advised hormone therapy followed by sex reassignment surgery. After completion of hormone replacement therapy and psychology test, she was issued a certificate stating that she was a transgender.

The petitioner then underwent sex reassignment surgery and changed the name to Gowtham Subramaniam. Subsequently, the name change was published in the Tamil Nadu government gazette and he got employed in a private company as a male.

Since his requests to authorities to change the name and sex in school and college records were not considered citing the absence of any precedent or provision, he moved the court.

Pulling up the officials, the judge said merely because the petitioner belongs to the third gender, he or she cannot be made to run from pillar to post on the ground that there were no rules available permitting such changes.

The petitioner had relevant medical certificates issued by doctors and hospital and authorities were expected to verify the records and make consequential changes, the judge said.

"He has also produced sufficient documents to prove his identity and the authorities ought to have considered his application on merit. In fact, the authorities, in the nature of the present case, should readily extend their helping hand rather than denying the same looking down upon them," the judge said.

Necessary changes should be made within eight weeks, the judge ordered.

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