Lok Sabha passes “Transgender Bill”: Amendments, Highlights, Criticism [Details inside]

lok sabha
Lok Sabha passes Transgender Bill

Amid the ruckus over Rafale issue, the Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Transgender(Protection of Rights) Bill. The bill aims at defining transgenders and prohibits discrimination against them.

The Bill was originally introduced in August 2016. But it drew wide criticism over its definition of “transgender”– “a person who is neither wholly male or wholly female, or a combination of female or male, or neither female nor male.”

The definition was criticized as being insensitive.

Later on, the Bill was sent to the Standing Committee for scrutiny.

The committee made a suggestion of changing the definition to– “Transgender person means a person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-man (whether or not such person has undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy), person with intersex variations, gender-queer and person having such socio-cultural identities as kinnar, hijra, aaravani and jogta.”

The bill was passed with a total of 27 amendments.

Now, the bill also clarifies the definition of “persons with intersex variations” as “who at birth shows variation in his or her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes or hormones from the normative standard of male
or female body.”

The highlights of the Transgender(Protection of Rights) Bill are-

  • Prohibiting discrimination[Clause 3]: The bill prohibits discrimination of transgenders in various areas of education, job, health care services, and access to services, accommodation, transport etc.
  • The Right of Recognition[Clause 4]: Every person has a right to be recognized as a transgender.
  • Procedure for Recognition[Clause 6-8]: The certificate of identity can be obtained from the District Magistrate. The certificate will be issued on the recommendation of a District Screening Committee comprising of the Chief Medical Officer, District Social Welfare Officer, Psychologist or Psychiatrist, and a representative of the transgender community.
  • The Right of Residence: Any person cannot be separated from parents or immediate family on the ground of being a transgender.
  • The government will formulate welfare schemes for transgender persons.
  • Also, the National Council for Transgender Persons will be established.

Offenses: The following have been made a punishable offense–

  • Forcing a transgender person to indulge in begging or bonded labor.
  • Denial of right of public passage to a transgender.
  • Forcing a transgender person to leave the household.

Criticism                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Several MPs have criticized many clauses of the Bill.

Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor claimed that the bill wrongly assumes all the persons with intersex variations to be transgenders.

He further stated, “Self-identification as transgender should be the only basis. My amendment expressly forbids subjecting transgender persons to a physical
examination & ensures all transgender persons are protected against discrimination, even those who may not have a certificate of identity.”

NCP leader, Supriya Sule demanded a welfare board and a helpline number for transgenders. She said, “They need equal rights.”


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