Why the TG Bill 2018 of the Indian Parliament should be a global concern?
We live in a world that is no longer divided by boundaries of nation states and what happens in part of the world inevitably has repercussions in different parts of the world. Violation of human rights in one sets a precedent for many others. One example of this is the recent Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2018 which was recently passed in the lower house of the Indian Parliament and is being marketed as a progressive bill for Transgender community in India but is the opposite what it is being publicized as. Among other things, this article would like to flag a few central issues that are against all tenets human rights and self-determination.
Why are people against the Bill?
At the outset, the bill is not clear on what Transgender means. Proponents of the Bill don’t know the difference between intersex, gender-fluid, gender-nonconforming and hijras. The bill clubs this massive spectrum into one category, erasing their specific identities and perpetuating the already existing privileged ignorance about trans-people. Not to mention that the Bill completely dismisses self-identification as trans which means that there needs to be biological evidence in order for one to be recognised as a trans-person. This involves a certificate from a committee of cis-gendered people (mostly men). This is ridiculous given that trans-people are already so vulnerable and everyone knows how harrowing such medical examinations can be. They strip one of their bodily autonomy and self-determination.
The Bill almost infantilizes the trans community, where everyone apart from them gets to decide what happens with their life. It’s almost like telling them “we know what is best for you and we will decide it”. The language of the Bill is also very ambiguous. Where it mentions that there should not be any discrimination against the community in different places like school or workplace or parental home but there is no mention of a mechanism to further this. The Bill short and it proposes a National Council that ensures the Bill is implemented. What is interesting is that 70% of the committee is composed of people who are not trans and it has a miniscule funding which is meagre in a country as large as India.
The Bill is also silent on different kinds of discrimination that trans-people face on a daily basis. It is carefully silent on police violence and violence in the natal household. The police in the country are desensitized and there are multiple instances by police on trans-people on a daily basis. The Bill is also silent on the questions of marriage, adoption and civil partnerships. Whereas people are uniting against borders and ideologies, everyday there is something or the other that stops individuals and collectives from self-determination and living a life of their choice. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2018 is an example of this sham and merely proposes shallow legal measures without having gauged the real-life repercussions of it freedom and opens the community to more violence. It’s time that people from all over the world hear about a Bill that is a paradox in itself and come together to fight this battle hand in hand.
Credits to An J from India for www.fuzia.com
www.prsindia.org/sites/default/files/bill_files/Transgender persons bill as passed by LS.pdf