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Rajya Sabha Passes Transgender Bill, Activists Express Outrage

The Rajya Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 on Tuesday by a voice vote. The bill was passed by the House without any amendments, in spite of MPs like Rajeev Gowda and Truchi Siva asked for significant amendments.

In the monsoon session of Parliament, the Lok Sabha had passed the bill on August 5 and the Bill was moved in the Upper House by the minister for social justice Thaawarchand Gehlot. The Bill has been slammed and criticized vastly by Transgenders activists as it is encouraging much more discrimination and stigma towards them. Activists argued that the Bill was not opened up for a consultation with the affected community, even though it was supposedly meant to further their rights.

Dhruva Gandhi and Unnati Ghia argued that Bill clearly shows society's bias against trans people. The reasons for criticizing are – It gives the District Magistrate the right to humiliate transgenders by asking invasive questions and physically check for surgery, to prove that they are indeed transgender. Also, Sexual abuse of a transgender person is punishable by only two years imprisonment under the Bill – as opposed to sexual abuse under the Indian Penal Code, where the minimum punishment is seven years.

And, the bill also denies reservation for transgender in terms of education and healthcare, which is making it difficult for them due to the financial crisis and discrimination. On Sunday, Delhi witnessed the Pride Parade as a protest march against the Bill. In spite of that, MPs have strided to go ahead with passing the Bill without listening to what trans people had to say about it.

Twitter is filled with #StopTransBill hashtags and several activists also took to Twitter, expressing their dismay. Netizens argue that the bill is completely disregarding the fundamental rights of their privacies.




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