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Watch: Why Activists Are Worried About the Transgender Rights Bill

The Bill aims to give transgender Indians legal identity and rights but it has been protested across the country.

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The Parliament proceedings during the winter session were disrupted over the Rafale jet deal and Cauvery issues, but on 18 December, the centre passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, in the Lok Sabha after making 27 amendments.

The Bill aims to give transgender Indians legal identity and rights but it has been protested across the country for “failing to protecting even basic rights of the community.”

Speaking to BloombergQuint, transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan said that while she thought the bill would protect her community, it has turned out to do the opposite.

We thought the Bill will be good after the ministry agreed to take in comments of the standing committee. But it has put the NALSA judgement (National Legal Services Authority) into question. I don’t understand when SC has said I have the right to declare my identity and gender, how can the state intervene.
Laxmi Narayan, transgender rights activist.

Narayan asserted that her community were the last of Indians to get constitutionally guaranteed rights.

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Senior advocate Jayana Kothari is of the opinion that the basic problem of the Bill lies in terms of self-identification of gender,

“The provisions in the bill is highly problematic in terms of self identification of gender. It says that a person has the right to self identify their gender - but also that one must make an application to the government authorites and produce certificates to be recognised as transgender,” said Kothari, speaking to BloombergQuint.

She cited examples from different countries, including Argentina, that provided full guarantee to the self-identification of gender clause.

While the Bill states that people belonging to the transgender community should not be discriminated against – especially for educational and employment opportunities, Narayan says it is “not enough.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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