Assam has become the first Indian state in India to add the “transgender” option in gender category in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC)’s examination forms. 42 aspirants have filled the form in transgender category.

Swati Bidhan Baruah, associate vice-chairperson of the Assam State Transgender Welfare Board welcomed the move. “It’s a big thing that 42 persons have applied in the new category as we know that they are a marginalized community and don’t get opportunities to pursue higher education. We need a committee to formulate the SOPs so that fake transgenders are not able to apply in the new category,” Baruah told Hindustan Times.

Talking about first such move, APSC chairman Pallab Bhattacharya said, “We had a discussion with Baruah and also checked with UPSC where transgender persons are already allowed to apply in a separate category called other. The state government was apprised of the matter and a separate category was created”.

As a separate category for transgenders was introduced, the deadline for applications for CCE Prelims exam was extended to October 25. “The total application forms submitted till October 25 was 75,988. Of that 42 applicants had applied in the transgender category. The date for the exam has not been fixed, but it will most likely be held towards the end of December,” said Bhattacharya.

In 2014, Supreme Court in its landmark verdict recognized transgenders as third gender. The apex court ruled that they have right to equal opportunities similar to any other citizen of the country.