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The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019

  Jul 08, 2020

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019

Why in news?

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 has been passed by the Parliament. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 26th November, 2019 and already passed by the 17thLok Sabha on 5th August, 2019. 

What are the provisions of the bill?

  1. The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.  It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.
  2. No discrimination against a Transgender Person in educational institutions, employment, healthcare services, access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public, right to movement, right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property, opportunity to hold public or private office, access to a government or private establishment in whose care or custody a transgender person is.
  3. Recognition of identity of Transgender Persons and to confer upon them right to self-perceived gender identity.
  4. Provision of right of Residence with parents and immediate family members.
  5. Provision for formulation of welfare schemes and programs for education, social security and health of Transgender Persons.
  6. Provision for National Council for Transgender Persons to advice, monitor and evaluate measures for the protection of their rights.

What is the significance of the bill?

  1. The Bill will make all the stakeholders responsive and accountable for upholding the principles underlying the Bill. 
  2. It will bring greater accountability on the part of the Central Government and State Governments/Union Territories Administrations for issues concerning Transgender persons.
  3. The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society. 
  4. It will lead to greater inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.

Which are major criticisms against bill?

  1. Explicit Reservation in education, employment and welfare schemes in not given and left to states to decide
  2. Self-certification is still not fully granted
  3. Transgenders want protection for their traditional income like ‘basti badhai’
  4. Personal laws need overhaul for complete social inclusion of transgenders. Like marriage, inheritance, adoption etc.

What is condition of transgenders in India?

NHRC conducted first ever study on conditions of transgenders in India. The study only reiterated the shocking daily humiliation and harassment faced by people belonging to the third gender. However, it was also able to provide a quantifiable picture of the apathy and discrimination they face.

According to the 2011 census, there are 4.9 lakh transgenders in India. However, the estimates by transgender activists and organizations put the figure between 60-80 lakh as many avoid to reveal their identity due to discrimination.

Some shocking figures from study

  1. Economic exclusionà Around 92% of transgenders are deprived of the right to participate in any form of economic activity, forcing the majority of transgenders to resort to sex work and begging.
  2. Familial exclusionà Reflecting rampant social discrimination and abuse even within the family setup, the study found out that only 2% transgenders live with their families.
  3.  Social exclusionà However, leaving their families is not a guarantee against social discrimination as 99% of the respondents said they faced social rejection on more than one occasion.
  4. Educational Deprivationà 50-60% of transgenders have never attended school and those who have faced continuous harassment from classmates and teachers. While 62% said they are verbally abused in school, 15 percent said they are harassed by students as well as teachers.
  5. Governance Failureà The most damning finding of the study was NHRC's observation that the government failed to implement the Supreme Court's guidelines to improve the lives of transgenders and create laws to ensure their safety from discrimination and abuse.
  6. Identity crisis and povertyà Highlighting the massive "identity crisis" the community faces in a "gender-specific" country, the study said 57 percent transgenders want to undergo sex-reassignment surgery but can't afford to do so due to poverty.

What are international best practices, conventions that India should adopt for transgenders welfare.

  1. Yogyakarta principles which supreme court advocated in NALSA judgement.
  2. Born free and equal report of The UN Human Rights Office