A lot has been said about India’s proposed Transgender Bill 2016, mainly negative. The bill written without transgender input would according to detractors “institute a gender apartheid against India’s vast and complex transgender, hijra, intersex and gender variant communities.”
The bill which was proposed after the Supreme Court 2014 ruling giving the entire trans community the right to self-identification of their gender as male, female or third-gender. Moreover, the court also held that because transgender people were treated as socially and economically backward classes, they will be granted reservations in admissions to educational institutions and jobs.
Some of the parts of the bill which the community objects to could be easily amended such as the wording identifying trans people as “Neither wholly female nor wholly male; or a combination of female or male; or neither female nor male; and whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at the time of birth.”
Definition of family: Under the right of residence of the 2016 bill, transgender people are given a right to reside in their parents’ household or immediate family members and cannot be excluded from the family.
The 2014 Supreme Court ruling came about because India’s transgender people are overwhelmingly rejected by family and forced out of their homes. The absurdity of legislating mandatory family acceptance isn’t lost on the transgender community. India’s trans people want to be able to legally define their family as the ones who actually care about them.
Arguably, the worst portion of the bill resides in proposal robbing transgender people of their right to self-identify and placing that power in the hands of judges, ensnaring the gender diverse people of India in a massive and costly bureaucratic entanglement.
The Indian Express reports that in order for a transgender persons’ gender to be recognized “…the 2016 bill requires the third gender to apply to a District Screening Committee, which comprises of a Chief Medical Officer, District Social Welfare Officer, a psychologist or a psychiatrist, a representative of a transgender community and an officer of the government.”
Giving the power of self-identification up to the government would create a gatekeeper nightmare as transgender people desperate for life would do anything to achieve official recognition even resorting to manufacturing stories to conform to expectations.
Transgender people in the United States have experienced the gatekeepers hell years to some extent ago. There were few therapists who were willing to see us and of those only a few of those would be willing to produce the all-powerful ‘carry letter’. That letter was the first essential step in getting HRT and was always needed in court if one wanted a shot at changing their official documents. This author spent a lot of money and wasted a lot of time between gatekeepers and unscrupulous thieving therapists who knowingly misled me to believe they would write a carry letter if I would only spend more time (and money) with them.
But not everyone agrees with those opposed to the bill.
Calling the protest against the bill as ‘ill-informed’, Laxmi Tripathi, one of the petitioners in the NALSA judgment that recognized transgenders at the third gender, said the protest against the bill was carried out by those who have not read the document properly.
“I am very happy with the bill, in fact, it is a progressive stand taken by [minister Thawar Chand] Gehlot. It is a commendable process carried out by the ministry, in spite of the generation gap,” said Tripathi.
Tripathi told The Hindustan Times the bill did not speak about medical examination for transgenders, and the guruseva system (wherein the members of the community live as a family under a teacher who they call guru) followed by the community would remain intact.
Hundreds of transgender people gathered Sunday to protest the Transgender Bill 2016.
Trivandrum (Kerala), Dec 17 (ANI): Furious over Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016, hundreds of transgender people staged a protest in Kerala’s Trivandrum on Sunday. The bill is up for discussion in the winter session of the Parliament.