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