Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 Passed by Parliament

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News: Parliament has passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

Facts:

About Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

Aim: Social, economic and educational empowerment of transgender persons.

Definition of transgender persons: It defines transgender persons as those whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth. This includes trans-men or trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons having socio-cultural identities such as kinnar, hijra, jogappas, etc.

Key Provisions:

  • Right to Self-Identification: It states that a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy. However, it requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and district screening committee to get certified as a transperson.
  • Prohibition against discrimination: It prohibits discrimination of transpersons in education, healthcare, employment, public facilities etc.
  • Responsibilities of Government:

o   Provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres

o   Provide, through an insurance scheme, medical expenses for sex reassignment surgery, hormonal therapy, laser therapy or any such health related expenses

o   Take steps for rescue and rehabilitation, vocational training and self-employment

o   Create transgender sensitive schemes, and promote their inclusion in cultural activities

  • National Council for Transgender persons (NCT): The bill proposes establishing a NCT. It would advise the central government on related policies and legislation and also act as a centre for grievance redressal

Additional Information:

  1. Transgender Population in India: As per the Census of 2011, the total population of Transgender in India is 4.9lakh. The highest proportion of the trans-gender population, about 28%, has been identified in Uttar Pradesh followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal
  2. NALSA Judgement, 2014: The Supreme Court in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India & Ors. upheld that transgenders should be treated as a third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their fundamental rights.
  3. Section 377 Judgement, 2018: SC in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India case decriminalised homosexuality by partially striking down the certain provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  4. Marriage between Man and Transwoman: In April 2019, Madras High Court upheld that the marriage solemnised between a man and a transwoman was valid under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and ordered its registration. This is first time in India where marriage between man and transwoman has been legally recognised.
  5. State-level Initiatives:
  • Kerala is the first state to formulate a transgender policy in 2015 which is aimed at ending the discrimination and bringing the third sex to the mainstream. It has also set up a transgender justice board to deal with their complaints
  • Maharashtra is the second state in India to set up a welfare board and the first, to set up a cultural institute dedicated to the transgender community.