Mumbai

Bill will deprive us of right to live with dignity, say transgender activists

Identity matters: Activists from the transgender community protest the passage of the Transgender Persons Bill, at Azad Maidan on Wednesday.

Identity matters: Activists from the transgender community protest the passage of the Transgender Persons Bill, at Azad Maidan on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Supreet Sapkal

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Community members want government to withdraw Bill or send it for review

The transgender community in Mumbai has termed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018, passed in the Lok Sabha last week, as “draconian and discriminatory”, and urged the Rajya Sabha not to repeat the mistake. At a protest on Wednesday, community members and activists called on the government to withdraw the Bill or send it for review.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, tabled in Parliament in 2016, was passed in the Lok Sabha with 27 amendments, sparking nationwide protests.

Community members on Wednesday asked the government to explain how the Bill would aid them. “The entire Bill is problematic. Gender self-determination has been done away with, begging has been criminalised and there is no recognition of a person’s choice of family in cases where their own family disowns them,” LGBT+ activist Chand said.

Anjali Siroya, another community member, said, “The least they could have done was to include us in their discussions before they proposed these amendments. We had protested against the Bill last year and they had said they would rework it. The Bill is bound to kill our right to live with dignity.”

The community expressed preference for the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) verdict of 2014. “The government wants to form a District Screening Committee to decide whether or not one is a transgender. One does not become a transgender by a surgery, one is a transgender at heart. Nobody should ask us for a certificate of sex change surgery to call ourselves transgenders,” Madhuri Verma, a member of the community, said. The NALSA verdict declared transgenders as a third gender, and gave them the right to self-identify as male, female or third gender.

The community has also demanded that a new draft of the Bill incorporate reservations. “The government has criminalised begging, but many of us have no other option. Neither do people want to employ us nor is the government making provisions for us to be educated and employed.” Vicky Shinde, a trans activist, said.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 11:48:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/bill-will-deprive-us-of-right-to-live-with-dignity-say-transgender-activists/article25837198.ece

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