Difference of opinion over Transgender Bill divides community members
While some claim the he bill threatens their rights and freedom guaranteed by the Supreme Court in 2014, others say the protest is ill-informedUpdated: Dec 18, 2017 21:23 IST
Looks like the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, has divided the transgender community.
On Sunday, a few of the community members initiated a nation-wide protest against the bill, which may be introduced in the winter session of the parliament. The protesters alleged that the bill threatens their rights and freedom guaranteed by the Supreme Court in 2014. They were worried that the bill will make it mandatory for transgenders to undergo a medical examination to establish their gender. Several members from the community said they want their gender to be determined by self-identification and not through medical examination.
However, some transgender activists said the fears were unfounded. Calling the protest against the bill as ‘ill-informed’, Laxmi Tripathi, one of the petitioners in the NALSA judgment that recognised transgenders as the third gender, said the protest against the bill are carried out by those who have not read the document properly.
“I am very happy with the bill, in fact it is a progressive stand taken by [minister Thawar Chand] Gehlot. It is a commendable process carried out by the ministry, in spite of the generation gap,” said Tripathi.
Tripathi said the bill did not speak about medical examination for transgenders, and the guruseva system (wherein the members of the community live as a family under a teacher who they call guru) followed by the community would remain intact.
While there were speculations about the definition of transgender, the term defined on the Parliament website states: “The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male. In addition, the person’s gender must not match the gender assigned at birth, and includes transmen, transwomen, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.”
But Gauri Sawant, a transgender activist, said the bill should speak about reservation. “To ensure that there are reforms in the community, it is necessary that there is reservation for transgenders in schools, colleges and jobs. It is only then that people will accept us and we will be able to stand on equal footing with rest of the world, and not be forced into begging and prostitution,” Sawant said.