Historic Transgender Persons Bill Passed in Lok Sabha

The LGBTQ Community flag march

The Transgender Persons Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

It is one of the most crucial bills that have been passed in recent times because it ensures and guarantees mechanisms for the economic, social and educational wellbeing of persons belonging to the transgender community.

In a country like ours that continues to hold staunch stereotypes against transgender persons and discriminates against them in terms of allowing them equal access to socio-cultural institutions, education and employment opportunities and above all a dignified existence-  the passing of the Bill is a landmark moment.

The Transgender Persons(Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 was passed yesterday but had been introduced in the Parliament on July 19,2019.

The Bill seeks to safeguard the rights of transgender persons.

It is to be acknowledged that many activists working in the field of transgender persons’ rights had called for the full text of the Bill to be made available to them and asked for provisions for them to be allowed to give their own inputs and suggestions in order to make it more in tune with the needs of the community.

The suggestions and comments of the community’s activists have been incorporated into the Bill to a great extent. The activists had been particularly concerned about the passing of the new Bill because the government had not been able to pass the Transgender Persons(Protection of Rights)Bill in 2018.

The Bill had been tabled in the Parliament in 2018 but couldn’t get a mandate in the Rajya Sabha. The main provisions of the Bill tabled in 2018 were that it criminalised begging(the sole source of income for many in the community), called for imprisonment of up to two years for sexual offences against members of the transgender community.

One of the most important demands made by the activists which was towards reservation and affirmative action could not be incorporated in the 2018 draft of the Bill. The earlier version of the Bill also did not allow members of the community the right to self-determination.

Therefore the new Bill has an immense historic importance for the transgender community and carries the potential to empower and allow the community to live a life of meaning and dignity.


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