Transgender is generally described as an umbrella term for persons who do not conform to their biological sex. Emasculated (castrated, nirvana) men, non-emasculated men (not castrated/akva/akka) and inter-sexed persons (hermaphrodites) also fall under this category.

Gender Identification

Last updated on Jun 15, 2022

Courts have accepted that it is the right of any person to choose their gender if they do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth. This choice is made when a person understands their internal and individual experience of their body, bodily appearance, speech, mannerisms etc. This is known as ‘gender identity’.1 

You have a right to be recognized in India with the gender you identify with. This may be the sex you were assigned at birth or the gender you associate with as you grow up. Throughout your life, you may even change your gender identity multiple times. Currently under the law, three genders have been recognized: ‘male, ‘female’ and ‘third gender’ (transgender persons). For example, you may be assigned the sex ‘male’ at birth, but while growing up you have the right to identify your gender as a transgender person. 

To change your gender identity, you can take the following steps:

  • You can change your name to associate with the new gender you identify with.
  • You can undergo Gender Affirmative Therapy which includes forms of medical interventions by which you can affirm and explore different options for your new gender identity. 

If you have affirmed your new gender, you can start by getting new or updating identification documents to show your new gender identity.

  1. Navtej Singh Johar and Ors. vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (2018)10 SCC 1, National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors.  (2014)5SCC438.[]

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