Despite ongoing and intensifying protests the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 has passed both of India’s Houses and is now waiting on the presidential assent to become law.
The Trans Bill 2019 is contrary to the Supreme Court of India, third gender ruling which declared transgender people to be a ‘third gender’, affirmed that the fundamental rights granted under the Constitution of India will be equally applicable to transgender people, and gave them the right to self-identification of their gender as male, female or third-gender.
According to the trans rights bill 2019, a person can apply to become classified as transgender by submitting an application to a district magistrate. this defies the right to self-determine one’s gender as has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
In the event that a district magistrate rejects the application, there is no appeal process for a transgender person who cannot avail any benefits mentioned in the Bill without the certification.
If the ‘application’ is approved and the trans person is later sexually violated the penalties are substantially less according to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019.
This leaves India’s third gender solely at the mercy of a district magistrate, and a lesser caste at best, which is an absolute violation of their rights as citizens.