Transgender Bill 2016, needs to be rejected | Vidya Bhushan Rawat
They came in large numbers from all over the country to protest against attempt to criminalise the issues of TransGender Communities under The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 which actually rather than helping them, criminalises them and prone to their exploitation at all level. Transgendered have suffered isolation, discrimination and prejudices and therefore we can describe them as historically wronged people because of the stereotypical prejudices that the religious, as well as feudal morality, has placed on our society. It does not matter of which religion you are because just a sentence in their support or being seen with them make many people go for a cover which is deeply disturbing and shameful. I am shocked to see the bill or read the content of it which actually does not look as if some legal brains with the real interest of protecting transgender communities has made it. It look more as if some Manuwadi with deep-rooted prejudices in the heart made it which would make us believe that all the trans people suffer from some psychological ailments.
The most offensive part is, against the guidelines by the Supreme Court, the bill actually suggest that none can self-certify as-as Trans and they will have to go through a screening committee at the district level which will have ‘doctor, social activist, psychiatrist, as well as Trans representative as the member of the Committee. Now, after assuming power, Prime Minister Modi actually ordered many things to do away with paperwork and self-attestation became part of whenever the copies were required at any place, doing away with the whole process of looking for some ‘gazetted officer” to do the work. That was an important decisions which has helped all enormously. Why is that a Trans person cannot certify himself. This aspect has enormous possibilities of exploitation and body shaming the people. When you will face the whole ‘board’ which will provide you certificate and ask all kind of questions regarding the sexuality, it is bound to be exploitative in nature as well as humiliating the person. With more and more TV channels leaving news and interested in peeping to your bedrooms, such intrusion in the private matters must be objected and rejected. This violate all the privacy laws including the one where Supreme Court’s biggest constitution bench accepted that privacy is a fundamental right.
The Trans have been historically wronged. Their isolation is complete with the feudal mindset and thinking them as if all of them are criminals begging and harassing people. They don’t understand that in villages these Badhai that they sing has been encouraged and supported on the religious grounds. The superstition in our society makes people fear that any abuse from a Hijra would be dangerous so not to fight with them. That is one aspect but with the changes now, the Trans community has grown. There are educated people, those who are students and at higher education and doing very well. It is one of the biggest taboo. You may like to happily give whatever they ask in Badhai and that too has serious gender bias as there are very few who come to sing Badhai when a girl child is born. That is a reality. But just to confine the entire focus on begging is too dangerous. Government has to come out of the mindset that think it is a problem particularly at psychological level.
There are number of people who have different sexual orientation and that should not be converted into a psychological issue. Many time parents did this to their children and ultimately did not work. Pushing your children to going and find out the reason of ‘disorientation’ is quite dangerous. We can understand that parents love their children and are afraid of the social stigmas attached to it. Isolation and so many kind of comments. Now the government suggest that they must remain with the parents and once they are certified as Trans, they will have all the ‘rights’ given in the bill. Can we really imagine that parents will love their children once they are certified as Trans and will be ready to provide them education. The whole exercise could be an urbanised one and even there we cant think of parental support with their children. We have seen what happens in traditional families when girl is born or if the child is a physically challenged. Our society is highly prejudiced against special persons and when they are not bothered about killing their children for the sake of ‘honour’, i shudder to think they may do so in case of their child is declared as Trans.
It is a long process. The government must initiate a dialogue with the community, speak to human rights defender and take what is in normal practice in other countries. In the West, the church has now accepted it as a norms and there are laws which does not discriminate on the basis of your sexual orientation. Their demand for fair representation at all level need to be respected and honoured. Many states have started doing it. It takes longer for society to accept the person at the top level or higher level particularly because mentally they have been always looked down upon and mocked at and therefore this can not go in 21st century with section 377 still in operation that criminalises personal sexual practices of two consenting individuals.
Leo Eric Verdakar, is the prime minister of Ireland whose roots are from India, born in 1979 and then migrated to Ireland is an openly Gay Prime minister of a country where it was illegal till 1990s. It is well accepted. Though Leo in political orientation is right wing yet what I mean is that society need to develop and understand that people have capacities when they are given opportunities. You can not discriminate against a community on the basis of their sexual orientation and choices.
Good that the community came in large number to oppose this bill. There were lot of supporters who were there as a matter of solidarity for fellow Indian citizens demanding for their rights and entitlements. We need to grow up and mature. Enough hatred is produced in this country. It is time, we dismantle those prejudices that come through farcical religious morality and enter into our minds and now being justified through legalisation.
Our solidarity with the people fighting for their just rights. Trans Bill 2016 must be rejected and government must initiate a new process and speak to the people who face the problems and issues at society level. This bill need wider consultation so that once the bill is passed, the society know about it and is ready for it. Unfortunately, there were not much support from political parties except for people like D Raja. Nice to see friends from JNU, from BAPSA, BASO and other students organisations were there.We hope the political parties that are fighting for the rights of the marginalised and their oppression, will stand up and be counted as a supporter so that it is put aside and a new progressive bill is prepared with the wider consultation and representation of the Trans communities.