Transgenders across Tamil Nadu are completely upset and feel insulted as ‘9’ has been given as the number to identify them under ‘Others’ category in the Sixth Economics Census form.
Members of the community, who have expressed their objection to the number code, said that ‘9’ was generally used by male members of the society to tease them. Now, with the same number being given to them as identification code in the Census form, they see it as an insult to their community.
Priya Babu, a transgender writer, said, “We will soon hold a consultative meeting with the forums representing the community and file a public interest litigation against the Centre for allotting number ‘9’ without understanding the mental agony it can to the members of the community.”
The ‘number nuisance’ came to light after Shanmugham, an employee of private firm from Coimbatore, brought this to the notice of transgender Swapna Karthick of Madurai through Facebook.
In the gender identity column in the Sixth Economic Census Form (Tamil), Male has been identified with the code (1); Female (2) and Others (9). The ‘Others’ stands for transgender and lesbian/gay/bisexual communities, said Shanmugham.
Already the transgenders were struggling to get ration card, EPIC and other documents as the government had failed to provide separate column for other genders in these official cards, rued Swapna who has been waging a legal battle for not providing a separate column for other genders in the UPSC exams.
However Dr L Ramakrishnan, Country Director of the public health NGO Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHI), Chennai, said it was quite likely that the code ‘9’ in a form developed for national use was not intended to denigrate the transgender community. However, the effort of the form developers was praiseworthy as they have attempted to include members of the transgender community also in the survey. Since the number ‘9’ has derogatory connotations in South India, it would be better to use a different number like 3, he said.