The Parliament on Tuesday passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill after the Rajya Sabha voted against the notice to send it to a select committee.
The bill, which has faced strong opposition from the LGBTQI community, was passed in the Rajya Sabha without any amendments. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha during the monsoon session of Parliament in August 2018.
In July, Human Rights Watch had asked that the government ensure that the bill follow the historic 2014 Supreme Court ruling on the rights of transgender people.
“Even though the bill says that a transgender person “shall have a right to self-perceived gender identity,” its language could be interpreted to mean transgender people are required to have certain surgeries before legally changing their gender,” the human rights watchdog said.
Ray R, a transwoman studying law at Delhi University, had told Deccan Herald on Sunday, “The Trans Bill is violative of our fundamental rights to movement, residence, equality and so on. It essentially says we are less equal citizens, definitely not important enough, by putting only six months to two years for abusing us, while it is seven years minimum for abusing women...This bill puts in a two-step process for recognising us as men or women, and mandates surgery and certificate of District Magistrate and Chief Medical officer, while also saying the District Magistrate needs to be ‘satisfied’. This is the screening committee in its new form, surveillance of the worst form and capable of violence on trans people that no one else has to go through apart from at birth.”
Others, including the Twitter handle ‘Feminism in India’ pointed out that the bill did not provide “organised protocol guiding the medical community on healthcare for the transgender community.” Read their informative thread on the bill here.
As the bill was passed by the Parliament, people took to Twitter to criticise the government.
Some called it a mockery of democracy.
People called it a “nail in the coffin” for LGBTQ rights.
Some also called the government transphobic.