Ted Eytan via Flickr

Assam has becomes the first Indian state to allow trans people to register for civil service exam.

A northeastern Indian state has become the first to add “transgender” as an identity category for individuals seeking civil service jobs. This progressive change will allow up to 42 candidates to take the entry exam to apply for state governmental roles.

The new application form for the exam enables those interested in applying for state jobs such as administrative officials, magistrates and police officers. Now, those applying have a wider choice to choose from, including ‘male’, ‘female’ or ‘transgender’.

Swati Bidhan Baruah of the Assam Transgender Welfare Board actively sought for the change. Speaking to Reuters, she called the decision a “big victory” and said that her group had also urged Assam’s state government to reserve a quota of civil service jobs for trans candidates.

“We are confident our demand will be met soon,” she said. “Forty-two (applicants) is not a small number… It is a historic decision. Assam has become the first state in India to have included us.”

India has seen rise in inclusion of transgender people this year. In April, all ministries and departments were instructed by the federal government to modify recruitments forms to integrate ‘transgender’ as a separately recognised category. This change was made to adhere to India’s trans rights law which was passed last year.

The newly introduced law enables trans individuals to “have a right to self-perceived gender identity” and will ensure the “appropriate Government shall take steps to secure full and effective participation of transgender persons and their inclusion in society.”

According to a census conducted in 2011, Assam has a trans population of about 11,500. With the state becoming India’s first to become inclusive and tolerant, we can hope the progressive change will soon be followed by other states and formally recognise transgender identities.