The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019.

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Ministry: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

Context: The Lok Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, which seeks to prohibit discrimination against transgender persons, including in matters of employment. This bill lays emphasis on educating, skilling and making transgenders employable.

Background

  • As per the 2011 census, there are over 480,000 transgender people in India.
  • In April 2014, the apex court had, in response to a petition filed by the National Legal Services Authority, or NALSA, recognized the “third gender”, paving the way for reforms aimed at ending discrimination against the community and recognizing their rights.
  • The NALSA judgment was followed by the Transgender Rights Bill, 2014, and passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2015.
  • The community had opposed the bill and demanded that they are consulted in the process of legislative action. 

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019. has been criticized for its following provisions:

SALIENT FEATURES COMMUNITY'S RESPONSE
1. Defines Transgender: As a person or individual whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations (means a person who at birth shows variation in his/her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from the normative standard of male/female body), gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra. Community differentiates between transgender, transsexual and intersex persons and dismisses the “one-solution fits all” approach. An ideal bill would have separate provisions for transexual, transgender and intersex persons.
2. Prohibit Discrimination: Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to education, healthcare, employment, access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public. Lack of enforceability dilutes provision, recent experiences riddled with discrimination
3. Certificate of identity for a transgender person: a Transgender person may make an application to District Magistrate (DM) for a certificate of identity, indicating gender as ‘transgender’. Revised certificate if the sex is changed. Shuns provision as impinging on their right to self-determination. Fear that it will lead to bureaucratic discrimination.
4. Health care: The government must provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centers, and sex reassignment surgery. Step forward but the medical community lacks knowledge of transgender bodies
5. the Bill states that transgenders while obtaining the certificate shall be entitled to change only the first name on the birth certificate Transgender persons may only change their first name This clause has not been well received as they prefer to take their Guru's name since they have severed ties with their birth family.
6. Setting up of National Council for Transgender persons (NCT): NCT chaired by Union Minister for Social Justice, apart from redressing grievances of the transgender persons, will advise the central government as well as monitor the impact of policies with respect to transgender persons. It will include various ministers and 5 transgender persons  Desire greater representation in decision making that affects them directly. 

Other Provisions

7. Right of residence, rent or otherwise occupy a property: Bill provides every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.

8. Employment: No government/private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment as well as promotion. In every establishment, there should be a designated officer that deals with the complaints and grievances of transgenders.

9. Education: Educational institutions funded or recognized by the relevant government shall provide inclusive facilities for transgender persons without discrimination.

10. Offenses and penalties: Bill imposes penalties for offenses against transgender persons like bonded labor, denial of use of public places,  removal from household & village and physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse.



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