Alleging that the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill that was passed by Rajya Sabha earlier this year has anomalies and lacks clarity, activists have demanded that the government works on a national policy for the community first and then “jump” to passage of bills.
“We acknowledge the efforts and welcome the move to introduce a Bill to affirm the rights of transgender persons. However, looking at the gamut of the ambiguity and loopholes, the Bill needs to be further discussed and amended,” lawyer and human rights activist B T Venkatesh said at a press conference.
“What the government is failing to understand is when we have a national policy for women, children and for that matter even labourers, why should we not have a policy for the transgender community first and then jump on broader perspective of Bills and Laws,” he added.
A private member’s Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha for the first time in over three decades, with MPs cutting across party lines in April this year to unanimously endorse by voice vote a proposed legislation that aims to promote the rights of transgenders, including reservations and financial aid.
“These bills have been drafted and passed in the most undemocratic fashion. How can one talk of benefits and rights of transgenders without having a single consultation with either the community or the experts working in the area,” Sampurna Behura, from Reach Law, who has been working on the issue, claimed.
Nisha Gulur, a transgender working with Sangama, an NGO, said, “the Bill does not take into account the rights of transgender children. Had experts or community been consulted, they would have known that it is during puberty that a transgender identifies himself or herself and not during childhood.”
“There should be a policy which considers that there can be transmen and transwomen. Why should anyone be forced to be identified as third gender? We demand that nation-wide consultations are held for formulation of a comprehensive policy and then the bills should be drafted accordingly,” said another transgender Christy Raj.