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Withdraw Transgender Persons Bill, demands community

New Delhi

18-December-2018

Calling the Transgender Persons Bill, 2018, "flawed", the transgender, intersex and gender non-confirming community from across the country on Tuesday demanded withdrawal of the Bill from consideration in the Rajya Sabha.

"The amended Bill, which apart from an improved definition of the term transgender, continues to be unacceptable and needs to be redrafted or withdrawn," said a group of community members gathered in the national capital during an interactive session.

On Monday, the Lok Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018, with 27 amendments to its previous version.

"The Bill should be more appropriately retitled the Transgender Persons (Violation of Rights) Bill, since it violates more rights than it protects," they said.

The community also said the version of the Bill passed upholds criminalisation of trans people for organised begging, while denying any opportunities in education, employment, healthcare through reservation.

"It upholds lighter consequences and penalties for discrimination and assault on trans people compared to cisgender people. It violates the constitutional rights of transgender persons to live where we please, stating that even as adults with the right to free movement and association, we must either stay with our parents or approach a court," they added.

The bill, they said, stands in stark violation of the fundamental rights of the transgender persons enshrined in the Constitution as equal citizens.

"The amended Bill has created a two-tier system within the transgender community, wherein persons who have not had sex reassignment surgery (SRS) can only identify as transgender and not as male or female, and the identification as transgender depends on scrutiny and certification by a District Screening Committee; those seeking to identify as male or female need to have had SRS."

On the contrary, they demanded the Lok Sabha to pass the "comparatively more progressive Private Member's Bill drafted by Tiruchi Siva, DMK member of the Rajya Sabha, which had been drawn up in consultation with the community".

The Rajya Sabha passed the Tiruchi Siva's Bill in 2015, which has, since then, been pending before the Lok Sabha.

"Tiruchi Siva's bill had several progressive positions such as reservation rights, employment and education opportunities, right to self determination, special courts, a Transgender Rights Commission and more," they said. - IANS