I made my entire legal change of name and gender in the first quarter of 2019. It was a fairly smooth experience, except few hiccups, as unfortunately in our country, rules and bye laws change, and we the common people sometimes are not aware of the same. Besides there are some unspoken and unmentioned things, which if missed or not done properly, have negative repercussions later on in changing some extremely important documents later on.
Since I am a working professional and did not have time to do all the paperwork myself, I had hired a lawyer to help me out in my legal transition. Hence the points which I am going to mention below are valid as of Q1 2019, verified by the lawyer. I would like to share my experience here for other trans brothers and sisters who wish to do same, and also if the admins of this site wish, they can incorporate and update these points in their article.
I will list out the process I took, and points I wish to highlight will be written between the asterisks (**).
Note: I am leaving out medical transition journey for the sake of brevity.
Start of Legal transition Process: Mid October 2018
City: Ahmedabad, Gujarat
1) Identified a trans-friendly lawyer. Discussed in detail the
purpose and scope of work as to change of all my ids to new name and
gender. She asked for time so that he can study my case and come back to
2) November 2018: Lawyer reverted that, it was highly recommended to NOT take any short cut or any other way and ensure to take the route of “National Gazette” in order to change documents
** The Gujarat State Gazette, published in Rajkot, publishes only the change of name and NOT gender. Hence it will be futile to make any attempts to publish in the state gazette**
3)November 2018: Made a legal affidavit for name and gender change.
Hit a roadblock here. All the newspapers based out of Gujarat refused to publish my public notice of name and gender change. My lawyer tried several online websites as well, to no avail. She just met plain and simple refusal.
4) December 2018: My lawyer used her contacts and somehow managed to convince the “Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd” group to publish my advert in “The Times of India” (English language) and “Navgujarat Samay” (Vernacular Gujarati Language). They agreed under the following 2 conditions
**My advert will be published under “advertisement” proforma – that
meant that since the space allotted to such proforma are more than
public notice it will cost me more. Having no choice I agreed”
If I manage to bring a certificate clearly stating that I am already undergoing HRT under close medical supervision – I had no issues here and got them a certificate from my endocrinologist, and 2 psychiatrists.
An interesting point to be noted here is that previously they had come across candidates who were under self medication and had tried to get their gender change public notices without proper medical backing. The newspaper had come under scrutiny and also had to pay fines. Hence their initial hesitation in publishing my notice.
5) December 2018: The advertisement appeared in both the newspapers.
6) January 2019: Prepared all the required paper work and CDs, and traveled to New Delhi to personally visit the “National Gazette” office.
It is highly recommended to visit the office in person. There is a facility for sending all your documents by post also, and then wait for it to appear in the Gazette. However, this works on chance and luck. It takes weeks and sometimes more than a month, either for it to appear in the Gazette or to communicate to the candidate that the paper work requires change. And sometimes there is no communication at all. Since short on time, I decided to visit myself
7) January 2019: Temporary Disappointment – My application got REJECTED to get published in the Gazette.
Reason: All my previous IDs which I wanted to change had my
name as “First Name – Fathers Name – Family Name”. The hospital file and
records, my endo and psychiatrist certificates and all my other medical
records were of “First Name – Last Name”. Also, since my newspaper
advert was based on my name appearing in my medical records, it was also
missing my “Middle Name”.
The main officer, approving the final papers, is very trans friendly and kindly guided me by mentioning that even if he accepts my application, my middle name will not be published in the Gazette. And that means there is a huge probability that the passport authorities later on would reject my application as name is not entirely matching the format. Also, once it has appeared in the Gazette, there is no known and very painstaking procedure to erase the Gazette records and re publish in the same
8) January 2019: Inserted middle name in all the medical records and certificates. Re published the advertisement in both the news papers.
9) January 2019: Revisited Gazette office in New Delhi. Success. Application accepted.
**Note I had to pay for the Gazette only once. Even though I was told to change papers, the previous payment receipt held”
10) January 2019: Did not have to wait much! Advertisement published within 10 days of my application!
11) February 2019: Visited Aadhaar center with old passport, old pan card and gazette publication. REJECTED.
Reason: Since the Gazette publication does not contain photograph of the candidate it is not recognized as a valid identification document under updated Aadhaar Byelaw. No proper guidance given at the Aadhaar enrollment center
12) February 2019: My Lawyer came back with a workaround – Need a Class I or Class II gazetted officer to sign on a certificate of identity with a photograph. Logic told me that any gazetted officer is going to check the criminal background of the candidate before signing on an identity document. Hence better to visit police officer!
Approached my circle DySP (A DySP is a Class II Gazetted Officer) and got 2 documents signed with a photograph i.e. one specially for Aadhaar and one specially for PAN card
13) March 2019: This was an extremely happy month!
Got my new Aadhaar with my new name and gender (I did not have Aadhaar previously)
Got my updated PAN card – Once you have your AAdhaar you can opt for e-KYC and select the paperless PAN card update process. It is hassle free
Got my updated passport
Note: The passport authorities at the PSK considered my Gazette publication as the main document for basis of changing my name and gender, even though I already had my Aadhaar and PAN card. They also did not consider in the application, the previous 2 documents of identification signed by the DySP. I was told clearly that for the passport authorities “The Rajpatra (The National Gazette)” advertisement is a MUST
The legal change of name and gender in IDs completed by Mid March 2019 – Total time 5 months.
Wish luck to all other members who wish to take their true identities