The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 is tabled in the Lok Sabha by the Government of India and the Bill is being pushed by the BJP Government in the winter session. Currently the Bill is being opposed with contempt from members across the Transgender community in India and rightly so.
The Supreme Court’s 2014 verdict has beautifully articulated the term “gender identity” and the definition of transgender. But the reality with the unhinging patriarchy and gender-based discrimination tell a completely different story.
For starters, the current Bill completely eliminates the option of self-identification and it wrongly reinforces the stereotypes of transgender persons being partly male and partly female. The Bill provides for a mechanism for a transgender person to apply for a certificate of identity. The Bill also proposes for a screening committee to determine the genuinity of an individual’s identity and it undermines the spirit of the NALSA Judgment.
Secondly the Bill falls short on defining the term “discrimination” as it vaguely forbids discrimination in public places, educational institutions, health care centres etc, but there is a lack of law enforcing provisions in the Bill especially on sexual harassment against the community members.
Thirdly, the Bill criminalizes the act of begging while completely neglecting the fact that it is one of the few options of generating income for the transgender persons.
Fourthly, the NALSA judgement provided for reservations under backward classes, while the entire provision has disappeared in the current Bill.
Fifthly, the Bill does not mention anything on Property Rights, marriage, divorce, adoption etc as it is clearly affirmed in the NALSA judgement.
And the reasons for the contempt go on as this Bill is clearly drafted without trying to find out the needs of the community members and rejecting the recommendations made by the Standing Committee. As an Organization and a movement we firmly stand against this proposed Bill to be passed as Law in the coming winter session.