There is very little information about the role of Identity Documents in how sex workers access health services and the protection of their human rights. This article from India addresses this important issue.
An article on the DNA India website.
What does gender have to do with unique identification numbers? That’s the question that sexual minorities are asking and they are pondering whether they should opt for Aadhaar.
“Any marginalised community can be targeted. Each denomination can be segregated,” said lawyer BT Venkatesh speaking at a consultation on ‘UID and Transgenders: Potential and Concerns’, on Thursday.
The community that is already discriminated against will become more vulnerable once they tick the ‘TG’ box in the section for gender and become known as transgenders, he said. Also, if the database is hacked, a person’s life can be derailed.
Human Rights activist Uma Chandru said: “Sex workers are constantly harassed. Members of sexual minorities are targeted.” The UID would only help segregate them for such treatment. For instance, the hijra community can be summoned to the police station and harassed if any child goes missing because there is a belief that they steal children, she said.
Members of sexual minorities, who are in desperate need for identity proof as it is a necessity for something as simple as buying a SIM card, are unsure if they should welcome the Aadhaar. Recounting the examination that she had to put herself through to secure a passport, Veena said: “It took me one year and two months to get my passport. At the passport office, the official questioned me for more than an hour. At the hospital, I was stripped, my organs scanned and photographed. At the police station, too, I had to answer many uncomfortable questions.” Authorities even asked her why she needed a passport and if she would misuse it.
Manjesh said that sexual minorities have to work hard to prove their identity and show that the certificates were genuine. “Securing my father’s property was difficult. People beat me up and accuse me of stealing someone else’s documents,” he said. “I have been unable to get the benefits that are given to disabled people even though I am eligible for it because of the gender and identity issue,” another member said.
However, there is no legal basis for collecting biometric information, Aadhaar is “something sinister” that has to be resisted, Venkatesh said.