Activists And Community Fume Over The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016

Transgender/LGBT Rights
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The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018, passed by the Lok Sabha last month sparked the ire of the LGBTQI+ community and its supporters…

Across the country, several NGO’s and leaders of the community strongly opposed the bill terming it regressive, problematic and unnecessary.

Some also opined that the norms laid down in the NALSA v. Union of India verdict were comprehensive and a new bill will ruin the entire purpose of the landmark directive.

Pune365 spoke to city-based activists, advocates and LGBTQI+ community representatives to gauge their thoughts on why the bill needs a relook. 

Shyam Konnur, Founder -MIST (an online collective of the LGBTQI+ community activists from all over India): There are lots of loop holes in this bill.

In the first place, why introduce a new bill when we have the NALSA petition which according to me is amazingly written?

This bill has flaws questioning the way the transgender community lives, having a screening community to judge what gender they should be consolidated to.

Everything right from their personal choices to their living and working condition, choosing who can be ‘termed’ as a family, has been questioned in the recent bill, without providing any solutions to the community for their livelihood and employment.

There are still some people who aren’t offered job or aren’t qualified enough to get one. I don’t understand why we are trying to moral police the lifestyle of any individual.

Moreover, representatives from the community should be included in the decision making of the bill. Having a committee to screen someone’s gender is a total breach of privacy. It is moreover, a constitutional right to decide who my family will be and that doesn’t need to be scrutinised.

Dr. Vishal Kumar Poddar, Dentist, associated with organisations working with the LGBTQIA community:

The Transgender Persons Bill 2016 as proposed by Lok Sabha was passed in 17th December 2018 with 27 various amendments after 2 years from its introduction.

“Though the primary objective of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, as said is to define transgenders and prohibit discrimination against the transgender community, it fails to do so at various points.

The bill states certain key points regarding definition of a person being ‘Transgender’, identity certificate as a Proof of Recognition (to be granted by DM as per recommendation of Screening Committee, consisting of a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person), prohibition of discrimination on grounds of education, employment, healthcare and other areas, welfare schemes to be provided by central and state govt as directed by the Bill for transgender community in that area, punishable offence including 2 years of imprisonment and fine for compelling a transgender person for begging, denial of access to a public place, physical and sexual abuse, etc.

The LGBTQIA community has always been looked down and considered for being a small minority group in India.

Applause to the Supreme Court for its historic judgement on decriminalisation of section 377. But is this bill really agreeing to this basic objective of decriminalising section 377?

Is this bill really directing an overall prohibition of discrimination against Transgender community? Is it really safeguarding the basic interests and livelihood of people who belong to the community?

I, being a member of LGBTQIA community studied this bill and I sense animosity towards the community. A biased and hastily drafted bill is what I see in it.

The bill should address these inherent problems:

  1. As per the Supreme Court, the right to self-identification of gender is part of the right to dignity and autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Here comes the glitch, according to the Bill which states Transgenders need to obtain Identity Certificate. Does this bill really address the Right to self-identification?

2) There is a population of around 4.9 lakhs transgender in India as per 2014 census, while transgender community stares the real figure is six to seven times as scribed in the census. So, the bill prohibiting to beg someone is good but have the bill stated clearly for the people belonging to this community who have spent their entire lifelong doing this as mode of earning, as mode of living, what help they are supposed to get from this clause?

Every member of the community are not equally accepted by their family or society. So how they are going to make their livelihood?

3) Besides these, there are certain terms as stated in bill regarding gender identification, but no clarity has been put forward. Terms like Self Perceived Gender Identity has not been described. The sense of gender description fails to state clearly about its direction towards biological sex only or it includes psychological sense of gender too.

4) Enforcement of certain laws hasn’t been mentioned in the bill which are directed only towards gender described as Male or Female.

Sanaya, a city based trans-woman: The flaws are many. Firstly, I won’t be stripping in front of a bench of people who later pass their judgement as to which gender I should stick to.

Secondly, if they have mentioned that begging and resorting to similar profession is illegal then why haven’t they formulated a policy to employ us?

This bill is a clear case of ignorance by a group of people who actually do not belong to the community. All we want is to live in peace like other ‘genders’ in the community do.

We have been regarded as the third gender, why is it difficult to give us our rights when it comes to our privacy and freedom?

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#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them. 

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

A Dreamer, Traveler and All-time Foodie who is happiest in the company of Animals! loveleen@pune365.com
Loveleen Kaur

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