Trans activists up the ante, to challenge Bill

“If the Bill goes through, we will immediately challenge it in the Supreme Court for going back on the rights prescribed in the NALSA judgment,” said Rachana Mudraboyina, a trans activist from Telangana, referring to the Transgender Bill tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

The Bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabaha faced severe criticism on several fronts, with trans activists and rights groups across the country raising their voices against several of its provisions. Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) also issued a statement opposing the Bill which it termed ‘draconian’ and an assault on the rights of transpersons.

“Is anyone in the Rajya Sabha a transgender? Does this Bill affect any of them? Why are they allowed to make these decisions?” said Abhina Aher, a trans activist, who works with the India HIV/AIDS Alliance.

She argued that the right to self determination as laid out in the 2014 NALSA judgment was being contravened by the current Bill which called for setting up of district level committees that would certify an individual’s trans identity. “When will people realise that gender is not something that is below the waist but in the mind?” said Simran Shaikh, a trans activist who is associated with the same NGO. Ms. Shaikh went on to condemn the Bill calling for a lower sentence in case of rape of a transperson “The Bill only calls for a sentence of two years while the sentence for rape in other cases is seven years,” she said.

Vicky, another activist, argued that by making begging illegal the Bill is attacking the traditions of the tans community. “Our entire system of guru-chela relationship and way of living will collapse,” the activist said.

This is a major concern as no alternative provisions are being made to improve employment opportunities and there is complete silence on any kind of reservations for the trans community,” Ms. Mudraboyina argued. In a critique of the Bill released by her along with Kranti L.C, a queer rights advocate with the Human Rights Law Network, it was termed “a litany of offences against transpersons”. And signed off stating that “many a reason for cheer for transpersons when the NALSA verdict was pronounced will be denied to them till a Constitutional challenge [to the Bill] is successful.”

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 1:34:49 AM |

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