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LGBTQIA+ community welcomes TN government glossary addressing them

Chennai, Aug 24 (BPNS)

With the Tamil Nadu government becoming the first state in the country to prepare an official glossary for the terms to be used while addressing  LGBTQIA+ people, the community has, by and large, welcomed the decision of the government. However, there are some voices who say that there are some issues to be resolved.

The glossary was prepared by the state government after Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High court had in December 2021 directed the state government to come with their own glossary of Tamil and English words and expressions to address members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

L. Ramakrishnan of SAATHI, an NGO working among the transpeople told media persons that the community did not recognize the earlier glossary prepared by the Tamil Nadu government as most of the words used were from archaic Tamil literature. He said that later they came up with their own words in the glossary and now 85% of the terms suggested by the community members.

He however said, “ Some issues still persist. For example, we had suggested the term, “Thirunangai” to address transwomen and ‘thirunambi’ means transman. However, the glossary uses the word ‘maruviya palinar’ which means a person who had changed gender.

Ramakrishnan told media persons that the community members are not happy with this suggestion as an earlier court verdict states that a person should be considered transgender regardless whether they have transitioned or not.

It is to be noted that the term ‘maruviya palinar’ applies to only those who have transitioned.

He also said that the government glossary refers to the national Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights ) Act as Thirunangiagal Urimai Paathukaapu Sattam. Ramakrishnan said that ‘Thiruvangai’ means transwomen while the Act is for all transgender persons including trans women and trans men.

Researcher and writer Nadika Nadja who identifies herself as a transwoman and who has contributed to the glossary welcomed the government bringing out a glossary, the first of its kind in the country. However, she told reporters that some new terms were problematic.

She said, ‘ thiravunilai paalina adayalam’ was used to refer to gender fluid people, whose self-perceived gender identity exists as a dynamic thing and was not a binary one. She said that the present term is ‘ nilayatra palinam’ which means unstable people. Nadika Nadeja said that while the first term was a political statement about socially constructed gender binaries, the present one addresses gender fluid people as unstable which was offensive.

However by and large the trans community has welcomed the decision of the Tamil Nadu government to bring out a glossary on the terms to be used while addressing the community, especially by the media.