The Government Approved The Transgender Person Bill Without Listening To What The Trans Community Wants. Classic Move
The government of India, presently, seems to be on a roll. The ones who were previously and for the longest time have always been known to sleep on matters of prime importance, have suddenly paced up their decision making and we don’t think they’ve had a chance to think through some of those decisions. While the scrapping of Article 370 maybe well received by the people (or not!), the passing of the Transgender Persons Bill 2019 is a questionable one, especially since the community involved isn’t entirely happy with it.
On Monday, the Lok Sabha went ahead to pass the Transgender Persons Bill 2019. The bill, introduced by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawarchand Gehlot earlier this year, was initiated to safeguard and empower the interests of the transgender community by protecting their rights. But before we jump down to the conclusion, to appreciate the move, let us stop you right there, because the bill has apparently been passed against the will of the very people it aims to benefit. While we don’t think the intent is wrong, the implementation raises many questions.
The Trans Rights Bill, 2019 is oppressive, not empowering. Remember our collective pressure created a Rajya Sabha deadlock before, so don’t underestimate the power of our actions. #StopTransBill2019 @jhatkaadotorg SIGN here: https://t.co/CUvn6FCClf
— چھوی / Chhavi (@chhavi) July 29, 2019
The entire transgender community, from the moment this bill was introduced on the floor, had been against the idea of it. This because, the bill in question here, requires the trans people to go through a sort of screening process, which in every respect, is disrespectful and unnecessary. With this bill, every transgender individual will have to go through a district magistrate and a district screening to be ‘certified’ a transgender. To put in simple words, they’d be examined and have to be certified by someone else to be able to be recognised. Whatever that is supposed to mean.
Trans activists have been actively and strongly disassociating themselves with the bill, with intense protests, because no one wants to have to go through such ‘screenings’, to identify themselves as who they are. This bill, wasn’t just bizarre but also disrespecting to the clan and taking away their right to self-identify their gender.
— Nivedita Saksena (@NiveditaSaksena) August 5, 2019
— Namita Sharma (@NamitaSharma175) August 5, 2019
— Queer Girl ? (@QueerGrlKahanis) August 5, 2019
The language has just been altered to give an illusion of removal of the screening committee. Right to self-determination as granted by the NALSA judgement has been taken away, and the bill requires surgeries to be done for change of gender.#StopTransBill2019 pic.twitter.com/ui3dMS6zOO
— Kavya ⚧ (@properlypurple) August 5, 2019
Grace Banu, a trans activist from Tamil Nadu said, “The Bill is equal to killing trans people. The government is supposed to draft laws and schemes for the people but this Bill is totally against the people. They have removed the word ‘screening committee’. But when we read the Bill, if we want to get an ID card we have to go to a District Magistrate and the DM will provide us with an ID card. If we want a male or female ID card, then a medical officer will examine our body. What is this if not a screening committee?”
And we agree with Grace. The government sought to put out the issue by omitting one word out of the bill, and what we and millions of other transgender people do not get is the need to pass a bill so urgently that is not even being welcomed the ones it is aimed for. And to be fair, we don’t disagree with them or with Twitter. The government is supposed to pay heed to the people of the democratic India, because otherwise, these bills hold no significance whatsoever.