India: We need a Transgender Commission say Activists

Transgender activists from across the nation demonstrated against the Transgender Persons Bill, recently tabled in Lok Sabha

The new bill on transgenders criminalises begging and “that for some of us is a practice we have been following for ages,” a transgender activist complained

The central government’s decision to disregard the recommendations of a parliamentary committee report, which recognised the rights of transgender persons to partnership and marriage, has triggered a wave of protests by the transgender community members across the country.

The Ministry of Social Justice has decided to table the original Transgender Persons Bill 2016, which has been accused of being “discriminatory” and “violative.”

“The recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which brought out a fairly progressive report, have been ignored,” said Anindya Hajra, a transgender activist, who was in the Capital to protest the tabling of the bill during the Winter Session of the Parliament. “This Bill institutionalises apartheid amongst the transgender and hijra community,” Hajra added.

On Sunday, LGBTIQ activists from across the country gathered at Sansad Marg in New Delhi to protest against the bill.

“We have always been discriminated against. The Bill says that a transgender means a person who is neither wholly male nor female, a combination of male or female, or neither male or female. This definition is problematic. The Bill attempts to define us, but it disregards all our concerns,” said Hajra. 

The activists from around the country demanded the setting up of a Transgender Commission on the lines of Women’s Commission and Minorities Commission. “We need to be understood and only we can understand the issues faced by our community. No one else accepts us as we are. We can’t even complain to the police because we could be sexually harassed. So, where do we go then?” questions Veena, a transwoman activist from Karnataka. Read more via National Herald