IndiaToday magazine reported on Monday that transgender passengers will be able to get tickets that bear the option T besides M (for male) and F (for female).
The Railway Board is updating its files to allow transgender individuals to have their gender identity correctly reflected including reservation, booking, and reservation forms.
From the current binary gender choices of “M” or F, these forms will now bear T for transgender option.
In a letter, the Railway Board said, “The matter has been reviewed and it has been decided that till such time the detailed modalities on this account are finalised by the Ministry of Social Justice, a provision may be made in the system to capture the gender of transgender as T instead of T(M/F) as advised earlier,” according to the October 17 letter.
Additionally, the Board stated in the letter that the Center for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Railways, will also establish necessary modifications on the software to reflect the transgender option T for all railway passengers.
As early as 2016, railways in India have already adopted forms with a third option but is written T(M/F), which for some activists, would still limit their choices between male and female genders.
In the letter, the Board also mentioned that the social justice and empowerment ministry is occupied in dealing with various transgender issues. It has also highlighted a proposed legislation, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, that is currently being deliberated by a parliamentary standing committee.
It has also factored in the decision from the Kolkata High Court that instructed the State Bank of India (SBI) to modify application forms for hiring new workers to include the third gender option. The court order sprung from a suit filed by Atri Kar, a West Bengal transgender, who was scheduled to take civil service exams and sought the judicial intervention to respect her right to participate in the selection process in SBI as a transgender.
For the past few years, India has made significant strides towards progressively recognizing individuals with gender identities other than male and female.
The Supreme Court recognized the third gender status for hjiras or transgender people in its 2014 landmark ruling.
Some of the country’s public medical colleges are also planned to offer free medical care to transgender including sex-change procedures.
Several high-achieving transgender individuals have also made a mark nationally by being elected as a court judge, magazine cover-girl, principal, and other prestigious positions.