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Parliament passes The transgender persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

The pride of LGBTQ Community has been fused with even brighter colours with the Rajya Sabha passing a bill on the protection of rights of transgenders on 26.11.2019 by voice vote and defeating the recommendations to refer it to a Select Committee. The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on August 5, 2019 and it was quite a long wait to the see the rainbow.  The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, stresses the ultimate empowerment  of transgenders in all walks of life. The bill was moved by Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment. He appreciated the welfare provisions in the bill. The super pride rests in the constitution of a council at the national level.

There’s nothing to baffle about the definition of ‘transgenders’ since the bill provides for one and here it is quoted, “one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.” The bill prohibits discrimination against them and elevates them in status.  It ensures establishment of identity an applying to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity. Many questions were raised as to the capacity of a District Magistrate in granting the certificates. The bill goes at length by creating a separate column for specifying their unique gender. Persons changing their genders can also obtain a revised certificate. There’s no single matter that can be implemented in our country without deep deliberations and debates. In that line, the present proposal arises debates on the “technical shortcomings” in the bill. The inherent issue is the non-recognition of fundamental rights of these people via a statue. It’s no doubt that fundamental rights are guaranteed for the citizens and gender does not matter but there are chances for disputes regarding the same when a clause is silent about it. Another opposition was about certifying gender. The very idea of certifying gender unlike the other genders is itself discriminatory and there are possibilities for the same to pave way for humiliation.

Members of Parliament contended that mockery of transgenders should also be titled as a punishable offense. Imposition of stringent punishment for sexual offenses is a part of the proposal. “There is a need to ensure a proper redressal mechanism for the same,” said Congress MP Rajeev Gowda. Provision should be made for providing reservation to the transgenders in public employment was brought forth by Gulam Nabi Azad, leader of opposition. AITC MP Shanti Chhetri insisted the provisions vis-à-vis Right to marry and Inheritance of property for transgenders. DMK leader Tiruchi Siva stressed in referring the bill to a select committee for further scrutinization but that was subsequently defeated.

It’s high time the transgenders are claiming their rights and freedom and it is an obligation on the authorities not to simply grant it but to give life by guarantying it. Living the life we want is definitely not a cakewalk, bare existence can be. And we know the distance between the above mentioned two poles. Everyone of us have issues in life but for fighters like them, life itself is an issue. The Supreme Court had recognised the transgender community as a third gender along with male and female in April 2014. We, as a society still fail in doing it. With this amendment bill, let’s join hands to celebrate their victory and uphold the pride just like ours.

Jumanah Kader



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