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Govt approves request from official, formally recognizes change of name and gender

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The Government of India has granted approval to a transgender IRS officer's request to update official records by replacing their name with their chosen one.

The Government of India has granted approval to a transgender IRS officer's request to update official records by replacing their name with their chosen one. M Anukathir Surya, a 35-year-old officer from Tamil Nadu currently serving as a joint commissioner in Hyderabad's Chief Commissioner, CESTAT office, had formally requested that his gender identity and chosen name be recognized in official documentation.

In response to this request, an office order dated July 9, 2014, issued by the Ministry of Finance, acknowledges the officer's request, stating that henceforth, he will be officially recognized as Mr. M Anukathir Surya in all government records. Anukathir, a 2013 batch Customs and Indirect Taxes officer, holds an engineering degree from the Madras Institute of Technology in Chennai and has also completed a PG diploma in Cyber Law and Cyber Forensics from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal. Prior to his current posting in Hyderabad, he had a decade-long tenure in Chennai, working at both the airport and seaport.

This decision marks a significant step towards inclusivity within government bureaucracy, affirming the officer's gender identity and chosen name in accordance with his wishes. The order, signed by the Under Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, underscores the government's commitment to recognizing and respecting diverse gender identities within its administrative framework.

Anukathir's case follows a series of progressive steps in Hyderabad towards gender inclusivity. Notably, in June 2015, a law student at NALSAR University successfully petitioned to have their graduate certificate issued with the honorific prefix 'Mx' instead of 'Ms', marking an initial stride towards acknowledging gender fluidity in educational settings. Subsequently, in March 2022, the university designated a hostel floor as an inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students, further promoting inclusivity and acceptance.

Senior IRS officials have lauded the government's decision as a historic precedent for gender inclusivity in official roles, reflecting a positive shift in attitudes towards gender diversity within India. This recognition is seen as a significant milestone in fostering an environment of respect and equality for all individuals within governmental institutions.