The Tamil Nadu (TN) government told the Madras High Court on Friday that it is in the process of preparing a draft welfare policy for the LGBTQIA+ community and it will be finalised and notified within the next three months. .This is the first instance of a state proposing such policy for the LGBTQIA+ community. While some States including Tamil Nadu have separate welfare and inclusive rules and policies for the transgender community, no State has officially recognised and proposed a policy for the entire LGBTQIA+ community.Justice N Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court accepted the State government's submission and said that it was a "gallant step" that the TN government had initiated. The State government also submitted two status reports before the court saying that it has begun a sensitisation programme for teachers in all schools across the state to make them aware of gender identities, the LGBTQIA+ community, the issues that an adolescent student might face in confronting or accepting his or her identity etc.The State government also said that it has already included such topics in the school curricula to create awareness and sensitise students.The TN government also told the Madras High Court that it will provide 'gender neutral' washrooms in schools for those students and staff who do not wish to adopt the binary identity of male and female..As per the status report, the draft policy for the LGBTQIA+ community was presented by the State Planning Commission before the TN Chief Minister in October this year.Subsequently, on November 15, the Commission had forwarded the draft policy to the State Social Welfare Department for further action. The department told the High Court on Friday that it has scheduled meetings with stakeholders and intends to finalise the draft policy and notify it within three months. The State also said that it will implement its Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, which includes providing welfare schemes and access to health, social justice etc.,for the transgender community, by the end of this month. The Court accepted the submissions and posted the matter for further on January 23, 2023. "The government of Tamil Nadu is taking a sincere effort in addressing the issues faced by the Transgender community and the LGBTQIA+ community, and the same is evident from the various steps taken. One such step taken by state government was to bring in the Rules which it is going to implement soon. Hence the court has no problem granting more time for framing the policy for the LGBTQIA+ community," the high court said.The High Court has been issuing a series of directions to the Union and the TN government to ensure that the Transgender community and the LGBTQI+ community are rid of the stigma surrounding their identities and are treated as equal citizens. These orders came to be passed after two girls from Madurai had filed a petition earlier this year alleging harassment by their parents through the police as they were in a romantic relationship. The Court had issued directions at the time to ensure the petitioners' safety, and had expanded the scope of the plea to accommodate policy changes.Additional Advocate General S Silambanan appeared for the Tamil Nadu government. Advocate Manuraj S appeared for the petitioners.