India: Rajya Sabha passes Bill to promote transgender rights

After 45 years, the Rajya Sabha unanimously passed a private member's Bill which aims to protect the rights of transgender persons and end discrimination against them through a national commission and special courts while seeking reservation in education and jobs.

The Bill moved by DMK member Tiruchi Siva provides for setting up of welfare boards at the Central and state levels, separate courts, two per cent reservation in government jobs and prohibits discrimination in employment besides pensions and unemployment allowances for transgender persons.  Though statistics say there are around 4.5 lakh (450,000) such persons in India, NGOs working in the segment claim the numbers to be around 20-25 lakh (2-2.5 million), who face discrimination, said Siva.

The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment on April 15, 2014, while granting legal recognition to transgenders, had held that equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression was increasing and gaining acceptance in international law, and should be applied in India as well. Read More