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Transgender Rights Bill

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  3. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

Transgender Rights Bill

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Definitions included and key features of the bill.
  • For Mains: Significance of the bill, criticisms and the need for a comprehensive review.

 

Context: The Lok Sabha has passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 to give transgender persons equal rights and protection under law through a voice vote.

 

Background:

The Bill had gone to the standing committee, and as many as 27 amendments have been accepted by the government.

 

New definition:

The amendments passed include a change in the previous definition of transgender persons as “neither wholly female or wholly male”, which was criticised as being insensitive.

According to the new definition, a transgender person is somebody “whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-men or trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons having socio-cultural identities such as kinnar, hijras, aravani, and jogta”.

 

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill aims to stop discrimination against a transgender person in various sectors such as education, employment, and healthcare. It also directs the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes for them.
  • The Bill states that a person will be recognised as transgender on the basis of a certificate of identity issued through the district screening committee. This certificate will be a proof of identity as transgender and confer rights under this Bill.

 

Criticisms:

Several civil society groups have been vocal about their opposition to the Bill  The Bill disregards many of their suggestions as also some of the crucial points raised by the standing committee report of July 2017.

  • This includes the right of transgender persons to self-identification, instead of being certified by a district screening committee.
  • The panel had also pointed out that the Bill is silent on granting reservations to transgender persons.
  • The bill has prescribed punishments for organised begging. However, the Bill doesn’t provide anything to better to condition in those areas, it doesn’t provide for reservation.
  • The Transgender Bill does not mention any punishments for rape or sexual assault of transgender persons as according to Sections 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, rape is only when a man forcefully enters a woman.

 

Need of the hour:

The Bill must recognise that gender identity must go beyond biological; gender identity is an individual’s deep and personal experience. It need not correspond to the sex assigned at birth. It includes the personal sense of the body and other expressions such as one’s own personal inducing proceeds.

 

Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: Critically examine why the recently passed Transgender bill fails to address the systemic discrimination faced by transgenders in India.