Trailblazing Trans IRS Officer Breaks Barriers, Officially Changes Name and Gender in Historic First

The Government of India has approved a transgender civil service officer’s request to remove his deadname from the official record and replace it with his chosen name. The Ministry of Finance issued an order to this effect on Tuesday, July 9, approving the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer’s name change to M Anukathir Surya. A deadname is the name a person used before their transition.

An officer of the Customs and Indirect Taxes (C&IT) department of the 2013 batch, Anukathir currently serves as the Joint Commissioner in the office of the Chief Commissioner (AR) of the Customs Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) in Hyderabad. He began his career as an Assistant Commissioner in the Central Board of C&IT in Chennai and was later promoted to Deputy Commissioner in 2018. It was in 2023 that he joined CESTAT in Hyderabad.

Picture Courtesy: DC

Anukathir hails from Tamil Nadu and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication from Madras Institute of Technology. In 2023, he also earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Cyber Law and Cyber Forensics from the National Law Institute University located in Bhopal. Senior IRS officers have praised this historic Ministry of Finance decision, calling it "progressive" and "pathbreaking" and seeing it as an indication of India's changing views on gender diversity. Hopefully, this paves the way for more inclusive practices and policies in all of the nation's institutions. But there have been some instances in the past where trans people faced very immense challenges and discrimination; this incidence revealed itself as the beginning of bigotry and structural issues that trans people in India face.

It is however important to acknowledge that some progress has been made lately, for instance, the recent approval of a name change for Anukathir Surya as a form of realization of the identity of leaders of the transsexuals. His story is interesting not only as the totality of his successes in the chosen field but also the problems he faced. In a society often that does not recognize and accept him as a transgender person he has had to navigate different spaces. This has posed him many challenges and he has fought them and succeeded meaning he has been a role model per se to many who encounter similar hurdles.

Hence, not only is Anukathir’s clearance by the Ministry of Finance a personal win, but it also operates as proof of the mounting scope for the Indian public service to be more open and inclusive to all its various workers and identities in future processes and policies. In conclusion, Anukathir’s story sums up as a reminder of how inclusivity and inclusion count. It marks the distance covered by India in recognising and legitimizing transgender identities. It summons us further to quest after creating a society where no one must live their life feeling like who they truly are makes them lesser or outcast.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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