NEW DELHI: Terming the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018, passed by the Lok Sabha on December 17, as “unacceptable”, the trans community has demanded that the Bill be redrafted or withdrawn.
The Bill, with 27 amendments, had been facing a united opposition from the transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming community across the country.
In a press release, the trans community members said “The Bill, contrary to the Supreme Court’s NALSA verdict, violates the right to self-identity and constitutional rights, encodes discrimination, offers no reservations while criminalising the transgender community’s traditional livelihood of begging.”
Earlier this year, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018, was passed on July 26, which also faced opposition from these communities.
The Bill, as passed, not only violates the constitutional rights of transgender persons to live where they want, but also denies opportunities in education, employment, healthcare, etc. through reservation, they said.
Citing the example how the Bill stands in “stark violation” of the fundamental rights of transgender persons enshrined in the Constitution as equal citizens, the release said it had created a two-tier system within the transgender community,” wherein persons who have not had sex reassignment surgery (SRS) can only identify as transgender and not as male or female, and the identification as transgender depends on scrutiny and certification by a District Screening Committee; those seeking to identify as male or female need to have had SRS.”
This is completely contrary to the NALSA verdict, said the community, adding that concept of a District Screening Committee to validate the ‘authenticity’ of a transgender person’s identity “is not only completely against the letter and spirit of NALSA, but also provides immense scope for abuse.”
The trans community said the private member’s Bill by DMK’s Tiruchi Siv,a passed by the Rajya Sabha, was “relatively more progressive”, as it had had several progressive positions such as reservation rights, employment and education opportunities, right to self-determination, special courts, a Transgender Rights Commission among other things.
Fearing that the Bill, if turned into an Act, was likely to adversely impact thousands of trans persons, sex workers and persons in already vulnerable situations, across the country, the community sought its immediate withdrawal and a complete overhaul incorporating the feedback given by the community to the parliamentary standing committee.