Third gender.
Alternative gender


Two surprising things have happened. Civic authorities on behalf of The Tamil Nadu Government have cleared applications in less than a day and issued ration cards to the transgendered/aravani/hijadas

I am Thrilled To know that Transgenders existence has been acknowledged by the letter T by the
Government of Tamil Nadu, by issuing ration cards, which is the prime identity card for people of India. Thanks to the social welfare minister Dr. Poongothai Aladi Aruna, who is a gynaecologist.

The People Development Initiative (PDI), an NGO is also happy.
Earlier, on December 21, 2006, another path breaking initiative was taken.The Tamil Nadu government had issued an order offering free sex reconstruction surgery (SRS) for the transgendered after counseling.

What is transgender?
Life of Transgendered in India.
When is sex reconstruction surgery (SRS)done?
What is GLBST?
What is the difference between Gay, Lesbian, (Homosexual), Straight (Heterosexual), Transvestite, transsexual?

Hijadas live a miserable life. They beg and earn by prostitution [Think of HIV/AIDS/STDs].
Shift: The social welfare minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna, a gynaecologist herself, has made this path breaking move. Ignorance, resentment, irritation, anger has changed into acknowledgment, at least on paper. This gives sense of being part of the human society to the aravani/hijadas/transgender
Usually the form where one writes about oneself has these columns.
Birth date:
Sex : (Gender)
Here 'Gender' is the correct word, not 'sex'.
Now we have three options M F T
The Third option T Transgender has opened in the state Tamil Nadu, in India.

Students have often asked me about the Hijada or Aravani(vernacular for the transgendered).
Though born male T feels and behaves like a woman. T feels 'she' is imprisoned in 'male' body.
Most aravanis/hijadas/transgendered leave home to live in a community. They have their own deity.
Below you will find the article published in the Times of India, written by Pushpa Narayan | TNN

Third sex is official in Tamil Nadu
Karuna Govt First In Country To Issue Ration Cards To Transsexuals
Pushpa Narayan | TNN

Chennai: Until now, Pooja, a 25-yearold transsexual from Salem in Tamil Nadu, had nothing to prove her existence in government records because she had refused to be identified as either a male or a female, the only two options available in the gender column of application forms. Now, however, the state has recognised her as an individual and given her a ration card where the sex column is marked with a ‘T’ instead of an ‘M’ or ‘F’.
The step by Tamil Nadu’s civil supplies department marks the first time that authorities anywhere in India have recognised the group. In Tamil Nadu alone, where transsexuals like Pooja have begun getting ration cards on Thursday, the move will lead to an estimated 40,000 members of the community nowidentifying themselves as members of a third gender.
This endorses the community’s alternative gender status and allows its members to avail of government welfare schemes without being forced to present themselves as males or females.
“It’s a move to support these marginalised people. They exist and we cannot ignore them. We have to accept them as the third gender,’’ TN social welfare minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna, a gynaecologist herself, said. “We started with ration cards because it was the simplest thing to do. Other documents such as passports and voter identity cards will involve policy decisions of the Centre.’’
The decision also paves the way for transsexuals eventually to write ‘T’ against the sex column while applying for admission to educational institutions or government hospitals. Incidentally, the Tamil Nadu government had on December 21, 2006 issued an order offering free sex reconstruction surgery (SRS) for the transgendered after counselling.
The People Development Initiative (PDI), an NGO campaigning for the rights of transsexuals, described it as a much-awaited step and said the response to the schemes was overwhelming. Salem alone has received more than 20 applications for ration cards from transsexuals. “They applied as soon as they learnt that the first batch of 18 applications had been cleared in less than a day,’’ said Sheela Vincent of PDI.
“The green book (ration card) gives me a sudden sense of belonging to society. I can now apply for a passport and open a bank account with no uncomfortable questions being asked,’’ said Pooja after accepting her ration card.
Districts such as Vellore and Namakkal which have significant numbers of the transgendered have also started issuing cards with the new gender status, commissioner of civil supplies K Rajaraman said.
‘T’ Is The New Gender
Aravani (the transgendered) are biologically born males but define themselves as women trapped in men’s bodies. This makes them behave like women. Most aravanis leave home to join their community. Once in the group, they eke out a living by begging, dancing and prostitution, becoming vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. They are also prone to verbal abuse. Due to a lack of identity, they are discriminated against by society, resulting in their isolation.
Pushpa Narayan | TNN
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