Tamil Nadu releases glossary of terms to address LGBTQIA+ community

Published on Aug 24, 2022 12:35 AM IST

The government also mandated that all forums, including the media, only use these terms from the glossary published in English and Tamil.

The Tamil Nadu government has notified in the gazette a glossary of terms to be used to address and describe people from the LGBTQIA+ community, as directed by the Madras high court. (Representative Photo/Getty Images)
The Tamil Nadu government has notified in the gazette a glossary of terms to be used to address and describe people from the LGBTQIA+ community, as directed by the Madras high court. (Representative Photo/Getty Images)
By, Chennai

The Tamil Nadu government has notified in the gazette a glossary of terms to be used to address and describe people from the LGBTQIA+ community, as directed by the Madras high court.

The government also mandated that all forums, including the media, only use these terms from the glossary published in English and Tamil.

This suggestion came from justice Anand Venkatesh of the high court while he was hearing a plea of a lesbian couple seeking protection from their families who were against their relationship.

The judge has since then given a series of directions to various state and central government departments to protect the community from harassment, which included the glossary so that the LGBTQIA+ community can be addressed with dignity and respect and not in derogatory terms.

When the case came up for hearing on Monday, the additional advocate-general informed the judge that the glossary was published in the Tamil Nadu government gazette of the social welfare and women empowerment department on August 20.

The glossary includes terms such as ‘Thirunangai’ (transgender woman), ‘Thirunambi’ (transgender man), ‘Paal Puthumaiyar’ (queer), ‘Oodupal’ (intersex).

C Moulee, co-founder of Queer Chennai Chronicles, who has been working on LGBTQIA+ rights, took to Twitter to express that the term “thirunar” should be retained in the glossary as the community glossary it is based on. “I also hope this stays as a living document. Because the conversation around gender, sexuality and queerness doesn’t end here. It keeps evolving,” Moulee tweeted.

“It is important that the community is consistently heard for the betterment of our society. But my fear is that this ‘mandatory’ usage might put queer persons (whom this is supposed to benefit) at risk when we do not use a term to self ID (identify) which is not in the govt gazette.”

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