No third gender option on e-Visa portal

Shane Mils tweeted to Sushma Swaraj saying: "I have been nominated for Global ERG summit at Penang, Malaysia, to be held on January 28. However, I am unable to get e-Visa. It has no option for my gender."

By Author  |  Published: 19th Jan 2019  12:39 am

Hyderabad: Bringing to light that the e-Visa portal doesn’t offer an option to choose the third gender for e-Visa applications, a city-based transgender activist, Shane Mils, has taken up the issue with Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

Shane Mils tweeted to Sushma Swaraj saying: “I have been nominated for Global ERG summit at Penang, Malaysia, to be held on January 28. However, I am unable to get e-Visa. It has no option for my gender.”

Shane was invited to represent the Employee Resource Group (ERG), Pride, for Dell India. “Dell is hosting a global meet in Malaysia and invited ERG heads from every region to share our experiences on how did we start these groups,” said Shane, a senior analyst for Dell.

But to Shane’s surprise, there was no option to choose the third gender in the portal. “If I choose male, then I will have a problem at the Immigration centre, and I might get deported back to India because my passport says I am a transgender,” said Shane.

The transactivist contacted embassies in Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi but to no avail. “Though it is a mistake on their part, none of them is coming forward to help,” said the activist.
Again to Shane’s surprise, one of the embassies had even suggested Shane Mils change the gender on the passport to male. “I felt it as an insult, and it is a challenge to get a passport on transgender identity.”

Shane lamented that people say a transgender person should work, but when someone from the transgender community is representing India at the global level, there is no proper channel to support. However, Shane adds that their team at Dell is trying to contact the Malaysian consulate.