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Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill

Mains -GS2- Polity

What is the issue?

1. Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 framed for the welfare of transgender persons has been legislated by the Parliament.

2. It seeks to ensure legal recognition of all transgender persons and proactive measures for their welfare, as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

3. Now, changes to the Bill are being demanded by the transgender community as the bill is regarded to have a poor understanding of gender and sexual identity.

Which were the objections to the Bill?

1. Transgender different from intersex

a. The name ‘Transgender’ is restrictive and shows a lack of understanding of the complexities in people who do not conform to the gender binary, male/female.

b. Transgenders have a different gender identity than what was assigned to them at birth.

c. Intersex indicates the diversity of gender-based on biological characteristics — ambiguity in anatomical genitalia — at birth. There are also multiple variations in intersex itself.

2. The fundamental right of gender identity

a. The Act is progressive as it allows self-perception of identity, but it mandates a certificate from a district magistrate declaring the holder to be transgender.

b. This goes against the principle of self-determination itself, and there is no room for redress in case an appeal for such a certificate is rejected.

3. Some of the suggestions ignored by the bill are

a. Declaration of forced, unnecessary and non-consensual sex reassignment surgery illegal, and enforcing punitive action for violations.

b. Range of unique health care needs of transgender and intersex persons.

c. Composition of the National Council for Transgender Persons to be set up under the bill for providing an institutional framework for its implementation.

d. Setting up of a working group for a Council for Intersex Persons.

Where lies the solution?

1. The title of the bill should be “Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics (Protection of Rights) Bill”, to make it comprehensive.

2. The distinction between transgenders and intersex persons should be introduced in the bill.

3. Recommendation of the expert committee set up in 2013 to study the problems of transgenders can be incorporated into the bill.

4. Its recommendations include right from allowing a ‘third gender’ in official forms, to setting up of special toilets and customising health interventions.

Other Progress

1. In 2019, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court declared a ban on sex normalization surgeries on intersex children and infants.

2. As a result, the Tamil Nadu government banned such surgeries.

Source: The Hindu