Transgender, trafficking bills spark outrage

Transgender persons organised a protest at Indira Park on Monday demanding that the Rajya Sabha redirect the Transgender Rights Bill 2018 and Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018 to a select committee for redraft.

The bills violate basic human and constitutional rights, and specific to transgender persons, the bill criminalises begging without offering other employment and educational opportunities, the protesting transpersons said on Monday.

According to the Transgender Rights Bill, a transperson has to approach a district magistrate with an application to be considered so. Finally, a screening committee will decide the gender of the applicant, the bill mandates.

It violates Supreme Court’s National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgment of 2014, protestors said.

The transgender community in Hyderabad has been protesting against the bill for the past week. Members of the community said widespread consultations were not held before drafting the bill, nor was the draft circulated among them.

‘Against NALSA order’

Criticising the bill’s rigid definition of gender, Meera Sanganmitra of National Alliance of People’s Movements and Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti said, “My gender is my identity and my experience. It has nothing to do with surgeons, hormones, bureaucrats or doctors. This bill is unconstitutional. Are transgender women not equal citizens of this country? Why do we have to go through a district screening committee which is assigned the task of determining our gender? This is against the NALSA judgment”.

The bill remains silent on reservations and anti-discrimination measures for transgender persons, she pointed out.

Karthik Bittu, scientist and gender transmasculine person, said the bill prescribes lower punishments for sexual violence against transgender persons when compared to such acts against women.

Screening worry

Transgender persons including Chandramukhi Muvvala, the first transgender woman to contest assembly elections in Telangana, were present at the protest site. “The screening committee does not have transgender persons. So, the bill essentially wants transgender persons to strip in front of women and men for a gender certificate. This is injustice,” Mx. Chandramukhi said.

Most transgender women who spoke at the protest venue said they will continue to reject the bill in its present form because it upholds the criminalisation of transpersons and remains silent on the issue of reservation, thereby denying opportunities in education and employment.

At a media conference held in the city earlier last week, several transgender activists from across the country had rejected both anti-trafficking and transgender bills.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 4:31:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/transgender-trafficking-bills-spark-outrage/article25822458.ece

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