Transgender Rights Bill and the Question of Societal Inclusion

While the new version of the bill is certainly an improvement, will it prove a sufficient equaliser?

In a welcome move the Union Cabinet has approved the Transgender Rights Bill that seeks to provide empowerment opportunities to persons falling within the transgender category and makes sure that they are protected from discriminations and exploitation of all kinds.

The bill provides us with a system that ensures that there is a mechanism in place which ensures social, economic and educational rights to people of the transgender community, it also defines them and prohibits all kinds of discrimination against them.

The bill is of great significance because it will allow for great benefits ti the transgender community and make it possible for them to fight against the prejudice and social stigma associated with them within traditional societies. It will also help bring them to the mainstream and mitigate the stigma.

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The bill will lead to inclusion of the transgender community into the mainstream and make them productive members of the society within which they find themselves. The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to introduce the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019. It is likely that this bill will be introduced in the next session of the Parliament.

The bill will provide social, social, economic and educational opportunities to persons belonging to the transgender category.

The bill will also make the central and the state governments more accountable to take care of cases wherein people from the transgender community have been harassed or faced discrimination, it will make the state responsible for their welfare and answerable if there is no radical change in their condition despite the apparent implementation of the bill. The bill will make all the stakeholders responsive and accountable for the upholding the principles underlying the bill. The draft bill was approved without any amendments by the Cabinet.

The bill would make it possible for a person to identify themselves as a man/woman or transgender irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy. It will also require a transgender person to go through a district magistrate and ‘district screening committee’ to get the ‘transgender category.’

The bill prohibits discrimination against transgender people in educational institutions, in the job market and in obtaining healthcare facilities. It also directs the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes on these areas.

Physical sexual abuse, criminalisation of begging, denial of access to public places etc would attract imprisonment accompanied with fine under the bill.

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