Transgender bill 2019 will lead to harassment and discrimination allege community members
Mumbai’s transgender community members and rights activists have rejected the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, passed by Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, as discriminatory and said it will result in continued harassment of the community.
Groups representing the community said the Bill violated the historic National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgment by the Supreme Court in 2014 that recognised transgenders right to self-determination among others.
According to the new law, the trans-community members need to approach a district magistrate to get their gender identity verified.
The protesting groups said the provision went against the NALSA guidelines for self-determination of gender and will open the doors to humiliation and harassment of the community.
“We will again have to face humiliation of proving our identity before a panel of bureaucrats, who would be just as clueless about our lived realities as most members of the Rajya Sabha were on Tuesday,” said Mridul from LABIA, a queer feminist LBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) collective.
Members also questioned the lighter punishment provision for sexual offences against trans persons when compared to women.
“For sexual offences against women, the punishment can go up to seven years until life imprisonment. However, the Bill only awards six months to two years imprisonment for such offences against trans persons. As a result of which, a criminal can also get a bail,” said Vicky Shinde of Shiv Shakti Foundation, an NGO for the LGBTQ community.
The community alleged “criminalization” of trans people for begging and said the Bill does not give them opportunities or reservation in education, employment and healthcare, among others. The members made an appeal to the President of India to return the Bill to Rajya Sabha for reconsideration.
“We do not accept such diktats about our lives,” said Rachna from Telangana Hijra Transgender Samithi (THTS).