Bengaluru: The city based transgender rights organisation Ondede recently wrote to Ramesh Bias, Chairperson, Standing Committee on the transgender rights bill. The organisation has made certain suggestions to be added to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, which is pending in Parliament.
The Rights of “Transgender Person's Bill, 2014": “transgender person' means a person, whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-men and trans-women (whether or not they have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy etc.), gender-queers and a number of socio-cultural identities such as – kinnars, hijras, aravanis, jogtas etc."
The organisation has suggested that the difference between Transwomen and Transmen be clearly demarcated in the bill, so as to account for needs unique to each identity.
The organisation has recommended that protection against sexual harassment and sexual assault, as specified under Sections 375(1), 375A2, and 354A3, be also applicable to transgenders. The organisation contends that, “Transgender persons in India face a high degree of sexual violence, often from a very young age, and receive little or no protection from judicial and law enforcement authorities towards the same. Criminalising sexual harassment and assault of transgender persons would afford the community a greater degree of protection from criminal elements in society.”
The bill already has humiliating clauses which state that the transgender person must be ‘screened’ by a panel of doctors in order to be legally declared a transgender which would in turn guarantee the person’s protection under the bill. It is these kinds of clauses that have prompted Ondede to write to the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee. Akkaipadmashali, member Karnataka Transgender Samithi said, “The bill is totally against fundamental rights. Why should transgenders be screened by doctors to prove their sex? The Supreme Court in 2014 said that every man or woman has the right to choose their sex.”