In a first step towards empowering the transgender population of India, The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, has been passed in the lower house of the parliament by a voice vote on August 5. The bill introduced with an aim to ensure that the people of the transgender community are able to lead a dignified life has been appreciated by the community.
Following are some of the key takeaways of the bill:
Definition of a Transgender Person
The Bill defines a transgender as a person whose gender assigned at birth does not match with his/her perceived gender. This includes trans-men, trans-women, “(whether or not such person has undergone Sex Reassignment Surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy), person with intersex variations, genderqueer and person having such socio-cultural identities as kinner, hijra, aravani and jogta”.
According to the Bill, a transgender person shall have the right to self-perceived gender identity. It prohibits discrimination against a transgender person on grounds including denial, discontinuation or unfair treatment in educational establishments, services, employment, healthcare.
As per an analysis by PRS Legislative Research, every transgender person will have the right to be included in their household, and in case the immediate family is unable to take care of the person, he/she may be placed in a rehabilitation centre.
The government shall provide education, sports and recreational facilities for transgender people. Provisions for separate HIV surveillance centres and sex reassignment surgeries should also be provided by the government, as per the Bill.
It also mentions that the “appropriate Government” will formulate transgender sensitive, non-stigmatising and non-discriminatory welfare schemes and programmes. Additionally, the government should also take steps for the rescue, rehabilitation and protection of transgender persons
Solving the Identity Crisis
The Bill also has a provision for solving the identity crisis of transgender persons. According to the bill, a transgender person will have to make an application to the District Magistrate, who will issue a certificate of identity to the transgender person. Essentially, this certificate will be proof that the person is a transgender, reflecting their gender as “transgender”.
Subsequently, the gender of the person as reflected in the certificate will be recorded in all official documents. In the case of a minor child, such an application will be made by the parent or guardian of the child. A transgender person will be eligible for a revised certificate only if he/she undergoes surgery to change their gender.
Apart from these provisions, in order to ensure that the law is enforced in its spirit, the Central Government will set up the National Council for Transgender Persons (NCT), on appointment. This body will consist of the Union Minister for Social Justice (Chairperson), a Minister of State for Social Justice (Vice-Chairperson), a Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice, and one representative each from ministries including Health, Home Affairs, and Human Resources Development.
Representatives of the NITI Aayog and the National Human Rights Commission will also be included, along with five members from the transgender community and five experts from non-governmental organisations. This body will advise, monitor and review the policies and schemes formulated by the central government for transgender people.
Thank you for reading. Please drop a line and help us do better.
The CSR Journal Team