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'Shemale' category on driving licences upsets LGBT community, demand apology from RTO authorities

Saturday, 18 January 2014 - 6:48am IST | Agency: dna
They demand apology from RTO authorities, saying 3rd sex category on driving licence form is demeaning.

The state transport department has prepared a new format for those applying for a driving licence which, for the first time, mentions a third sex category in addition to ‘male’ and ‘female’. The category has been labeled ‘shemale’, which has distressed the LGBT community.

“The term is commonly used in the porn industry and I am dejected by this. On one hand you want to acknowledge the rights of the community, but on the other hand you demean us in this way,” said Urmi Jadhav, a transgender working with the LGBT community.

Shemale (also she-male) is defined by Wikipedia as “a derogatory term used (but not exclusively) in sex work to describe trans women with male genitalia and augmented female breasts from breast augmentation and / or use of hormones. The term she-male is offensive primarily because it mocks the gender identity and expressions of trans individuals and it places emphasis on the biological sex of the person over the gender. … The phrase is commonly found on porn sites.”

The transport commissioner’s office is probably only the third government department to recognise a third category after the election commission and the passport office. But these two departments have used the label ‘transgender’ and ‘others’.

“It is derogatory and definitely incorrect. They shouldn’t be making such an error. By such a reference the authorities are disempowering people. They should issue an apology,” said Harish Iyer, an LGBT rights activist.

Reacting to the criticism, SB Sahasrabudhhe, additional transport commissioner, said the department would correct the name soon. “We never intended to demean anyone. As this issue has been brought to our notice, we will take corrective measures,” Sahasrabudhhe said.

Sonal Giani, advocacy officer with Humsafar Trust, welcomed the acknowledgement of a third gender, but expressed disappointment over the blunder.

“It seems that someone who is ignorant on the subject has done this, no research has been done before taking this decision which has been taken without consulting the community,” Giani said.

Activists said gender neutral terms being used internationally are ‘ze’, ‘zir’, ‘sie’ and ‘hir’.

Unable to register
Some persons applying online for a learner’s licence have not been able to register for an appointment. Despite seats available displayed on the website, when one clicks to register the system does not accept the registration.




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