HRW demands strengthening of Transgender Rights Bill

The Indian government should strengthen its groundbreaking Bill providing legal protections for the country’s transgender population, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a letter to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, on Tuesday.

Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015 should be improved through broad consultations throughout the country with transgender people and groups, said HRW.

“Transgender Persons Bill will help protect and empower India’s transgender population, but the government needs also to address the bill’s shortcomings,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at HRW and added, “With the input of the transgender community, the government should ensure that a new law lays out a strong legal framework in line with the constitution and international law, and provides effective enforcement.”

The Transgender Persons Bill resulted from the 2014 Supreme Court judgment NALSA v. India, which ruled that transgender people should be recognised as a third gender, enjoy all fundamental rights and

receive special benefits in education and employment.

The HRW has opined that the Bill should be amended to ensure that self-identification is the sole criterion for legal gender recognition without psychological, medical, or other “expert” intervention. This self-declared identity should form the basis for access to all social security measures, benefits and entitlements.

The bill should also be expanded to include protections to address the specific concerns of intersex persons. Instead of criminalizing self-harm, the government should take action to combat the legal and

structural causes that contribute to such marginalisation and poor mental health outcomes.

“The Transgender Persons Bill offers the promise of both changing archaic laws and thinking about transgender people in India,” Ms. Ganguly said.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 7:23:09 AM |

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