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Glossary on addressing LGBTQIA++ Persons

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August 26, 2022

Why in news?

The Tamil Nadu government has issued a glossary, as suggested by the Madras High Court, as to how the persons belonging to the third gender should be addressed.

Who are LGBTQIA++?

  • The “L, G” and “B” refer to sexual orientation, meaning those to which one is attracted, most often referring to lesbian or gay.
  • Bisexual is an attraction to both males and females.
  • Transgender refers to one who identifies as a sex other than was named at birth.
  • The Q indicates questioning and queer.
  • Questioning is a label one might use to convey they are exploring their identity and may not want to label themselves while Queer is often used to identify oneself as a member of the LGBTQIA++ community.
  • The “I” speaks to intersex in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
  • ‘A’ refers to asexual who do not have sexual feelings.
  • ‘++’ suggests openness and inclusivity.

What is the Madras High Court’s direction?

  • Glossary of terms- The Madras High Court had directed the government to come up with a list of terms to address the community in a dignified manner.
  • Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules- As regards the rules, the draft rules had been received from the Director of Social Welfare and it requires scrutiny and compliance of the Central Act, 2019.
  • It also requires the approval of the Law department, before the circulation of the same to the Chief Minister.
  • Transgender Policy- Instructions had been issued to the Transgender Welfare Board secretary to prepare an exclusive policy for such persons.
  • The policy will be made in consultation with stake-holders concerned, including the officials of State Planning Commission.

What is the glossary about?

  • The glossary of terms was published in the Tamil Nadu government gazette of the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment department.
  • It is about how to correctly describe members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the media.
  • It would have a statutory backing.
  • Whenever the LGBTQIA+ community is to be addressed by any forum, it is mandatory to describe them only by using the terms that have been mentioned in the gazette.


Tamil terms

English terms



Transgender woman



Transgender man


Paal Puthumaiyar





What does this move signify?

The Supreme Court in 2018 scrapped Section 377 of IPC that criminalises same-sex relations, but members of the LGBTQIA+ community continue to face widespread discrimination in the country.

  • Dignity and respect- This attempt is being made to address persons belonging to LGBTQIA+ community with more dignity and respect.
  • Inclusion- The persons belonging to LGBTQIA+ community have been sidelined from the main stream of the society and it is high time that top priority is given to implement the policy and rules.
  • Reflection of diversity- The glossary reflects the diversity of the community.
  • Upliftment of the community- It also aids in the upliftment of persons belonging to LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Serves as a model- The glossary published by the Tamil Nadu government will go to all parts of the world where Tamil is spoken.



  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/tamil-nadu-govt-lgbtq-glossary-pride-madras-hc-8108050/
  2. https://scroll.in/latest/1031176/tamil-nadu-government-releases-glossary-of-terms-to-address-lgbtqia-community
  3. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/first-glossary-tamil-lgbtqia-terms-published-tn-govt-167129?amp
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