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Transgender Rights Bill

Topics Covered:

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 Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 has been passed by Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha passing it after a motion to refer it to a select committee was defeated.

Impact:

The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society. This will lead to inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.

 

Need for legislation:

  • Transgender community is among one of the most marginalized communities in the country because they don’t fit into the stereotypical categories of gender of ‘men’ or ‘women’.
  • Consequently, they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on.

 

New definition:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Going by the bill, a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.
  4. It also requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and “district screening committee” to get certified as a transperson.
  5. The committee would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person.

 

Criticisms:

  1. The Bill is silent on granting reservations to transgender persons.
  2. The bill has prescribed punishments for organised begging. However, the Bill doesn’t provide anything to better condition in those areas.
  3. It 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 recognize 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.