An important objective of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 is to provide for protection of rights of transgender people, their welfare, and other related matters.
The Bill was introduced on July 19, 2019 in Lok Sabha, by Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment.
What does the Bill define?
The Bill defines a transgender person as the person whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. The bill includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra. The term Intersex variations means a person who at birth shows variation in his or her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from the normative standard of male or female body.
- This Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, and it includes denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to: (i) education; (ii) employment; (iii) healthcare; (iv) right to movement; (v) right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property; (vi) opportunity to hold public or private office.
- A right to reside and be included in his household is the right of every transgender person. If the person’s family doesn’t take care for the transgender person, the person may be placed in a rehabilitation centre, on the orders of a competent court.
- No private entity or the government can discriminate against a transgender person in matters related to employment, recruitment, and promotion. It is the requirement of every establishment to designate a person to be a complaint officer to deal with complaints regarding to this Act.
- Funded educational institutions or recognised by the relevant government shall provide inclusive education, sports and recreational facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.
- Steps must be taken by the government to provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries. Also, the government shall review medical curriculum to address health issues of transgender persons, and provide medical insurance schemes for them.
- An application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, may be made by a transgender person indicating the gender as ‘transgender’. However, if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female, a revised certificate may be obtained to the person.
- Measures are taken to ensure participation of transgender persons in society, which will be taken by the relevant government. Also steps for their rescue and rehabilitation, vocational training and self-employment, create schemes that are transgender sensitive, and promote their participation in cultural activities.
- The offences that are recognised against transgender persons are : (i) forced or bonded labour (excluding compulsory government service for public purposes), (ii) denial of use of public places, (iii) removal from household, and village, (iv) physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse. However, the penalties for these offences vary between six months and two years along with a fine.
- The central government as well as monitor will be adviced the impact of policies, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons by the council. It will also redress the grievances of transgender persons.
The trans community has rejected the Bill citing several clauses that are detrimental to their fundamental rights. Also, the Bill has left more questions unanswered than the concerns it aims to addresses. It appears to be a check in the box, which, in its present form, may not be of much help to the TG Community. The passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha has also been questioned. The Bill was passed, almost without debate, on the same date when the proposal to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir of its special status was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. In some circles, this date is being referred to as the ‘Gender Justice Murder Day’ by the TG Community. It has been alleged that the Bill was not made available to relevant communities until the date it was tabled in the Lok Sabha. In light of these concerns and certain critical shortcomings identified above, the Bill in its present form requires reconsideration.
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