Transgender rights bill might be reintroduced this Parliament session, say MPs

The transgender rights bill, originally introduced in 2016, triggered a controversy with many activists saying the legislation hurt the community and didn’t address key issues such as violence, employment, education and separate quotas.
The bill was sent to a parliamentary committee, and lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. The government has already said it is committed to bringing the bill before Parliament again.(HT Photo)
The bill was sent to a parliamentary committee, and lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. The government has already said it is committed to bringing the bill before Parliament again.(HT Photo)
Updated on Jun 22, 2019 05:46 AM IST
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The government is committed to ensuring the rights of transgender people, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members of Parliament said on Friday, indicating that the controversial transgender rights bill may be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing session.

At a public hearing and event to mark transgender rights in Delhi, the two — East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir and North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari, along with senior doctors, police officers, journalists and public policy professionals — heard testimonies of various transgender activists ranging from housing problems and human rights violations to education woes and family violence.

“The Prime Minister’s dream of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ won’t be fulfilled until all of you are a part of it,” Gambhir said at the eighth Hijra Habba. “We are trying to address your problems through the transgender rights bill… this government understands your issues, they won’t go unheard,” Tiwari added.

The transgender rights bill, originally introduced in 2016, triggered a controversy with many activists saying the legislation hurt the community and didn’t address key issues such as violence, employment, education and separate quotas. The bill was sent to a parliamentary committee, and lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. The government has already said it is committed to bringing the bill before Parliament again. Tiwari suggested that there could be more discussion if activists found some provisions problematic.

The event also marked five years of the landmark Supreme Court judgment that affirmed the rights of transgender people. “This day is important for us. We are as much citizens as anyone else, and we should get as much rights as anyone else,” Simran Sheikh, an activist, said.

Abhina Aher, another activist, flagged that transgender people continued to face issues with housing and loans.

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