House panel headed by BJP MP slams homophobia, calls for transgender rights

The report by the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment — headed by Ramesh Bais, a seven-term Lok Sabha MP representing the Raipur constituency— is the first ever government document to recognise the right to civil union for transgender persons.

Written by Shalini Nair | New Delhi | Published:July 22, 2017 4:56 am
transgender, transgender rights, transgender Bill, civil rights issues, civil rights, transgender people, BJP, BJP MP, homophobia, india news The report is also critical of the draft Bill’s definition of transgender persons which it terms as “unscientific and primitive and based on the underlying assumption of ‘biological determinism’”. Photo for representational purpose.

A PARLIAMENTARY committee headed by a BJP MP has criticised the central government’s draft transgender Bill for not addressing important civil rights issues, such as marriage and divorce, for transgender persons and thereby leaving them vulnerable to criminalisation under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The report by the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment — headed by Ramesh Bais, a seven-term Lok Sabha MP representing the Raipur constituency— is the first ever government document to recognise the right to civil union for transgender persons.

The 31-member panel, comprising MPs from a number of political parties, tabled its “unanimously passed” report on The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, in the Lok Sabha on Friday. The Bill was introduced in the lower House in August 2016.The report states, “The Bill does not refer to important civil rights like marriage and divorce, adoption, etc., which are critical to transgender persons’ lives and reality, wherein many are engaged in

The report states, “The Bill does not refer to important civil rights like marriage and divorce, adoption, etc., which are critical to transgender persons’ lives and reality, wherein many are engaged in marriage like relations, without any legal recognition from the State.”

It further states that unless the Bill recognises the rights of transgender persons to partnership and marriage, under respective personal laws or other relevant legislations, they will remain at the risk of criminalisation under Section 377. The colonial era IPC section punishes those having sexual intercourse “against the order of nature” with imprisonment extending up to life term and a fine.

The preface to the report assures the transgender community that “a historic shift is underway, you are not alone in your struggle for the end of violence and discrimination. It is a shared struggle. Transgender is not an anomaly. It is part of the spectrum of people’s realities.”

In a departure from the government’s official position, the panel has gone beyond the issue of transgender persons and state, “While there is no shame in being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex of even straight — there is most certainly shame and dishonour in being a homophone, a transphobe and a bigot”.

The panel’s stance is significant in the light of the BJP’s reluctance to amend section 377. Immediately after the Supreme Court judgment of 2013, which upheld section 377 and left it to the legislature to amend the law if it deemed fit, then party president Rajnath Singh backed the IPC section terming such acts as “unnatural”.

Last year, RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale had said that homosexuality should not be treated as a crime but as a “socially immoral act” and “a psychological case”. The Parliamentary panel has also asked for recognising “alternative family structures” in the context of transgender persons so that the Hijra or Aravani family system, where the community elders adopt young transgender children, are not criminalised. It has asked that family be defined under the Bill as “a group of people related by blood, marriage or by adoption of a transgender person”.

The report is also critical of the draft Bill’s definition of transgender persons which it terms as “unscientific and primitive and based on the underlying assumption of ‘biological determinism’”. The bill defines transgender persons as neither wholly male or wholly female, a combination of female or male and neither female nor male.

The panel has suggested that they should instead be defined merely as persons “whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-men and trans-women, gender-queers and a number of socio-cultural identities such as kinnars, hijras, aravanis, jogtas etc.”

While the exact transgender population in India is not known, Census 2011 records the population of ‘others’ (people who do not identify themselves either as male or female) at 4.87 lakh. A 2011 survey by Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs, an NGO, pegs their number at 19 lakh.

The panel wants the Bill to define discrimination against transgender persons and make such discrimination, practiced either by people, the state or private establishments, punishable. Moreover, it also points out how the Bill is silent on the Supreme Court directive to extend benefits of reservation, in educational institutions and government jobs to transgender persons who have to be treated as socially and educationally backward communities.

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  1. C
    Chirayu
    Jul 22, 2017 at 10:04 am
    If BJP is not eradicating 377 then it is against human rights ..They must take care of each n every citizen n think in scientific manner..
    Reply
    1. L
      Lal
      Jul 22, 2017 at 10:01 am
      It is time the Govt. recognises transgenders and include them in the main stream society. They have been neglected all along and many resort to begging and criminal activities to survive. They should be given equal rights as any other man or woman and treated equally at all levels without any discrimination. It is not their fault that they were born in that condition.
      Reply
      1. I
        IslamForFooools
        Jul 22, 2017 at 9:11 am
        Only BJP is progressive party in India. Welcome LGBT , don't fall to victim of congressi jihadi terrorism, Islam will always be enemy of LGBT and will kil them fo fking toilet paper book called kuran
        Reply
        1. M
          MAB
          Jul 22, 2017 at 10:29 am
          You go through the Nobel Quran.... shown / or mail me which is wrong
          Reply
          1. I
            IslamForFooools
            Jul 22, 2017 at 12:40 pm
            Everything in Kurna is wrong k it's just a book with copy and paste sold in the name of fking Allah. Allah doesn't even exist, mohemmed foooled all landa musselman in the name of Allah. Is your Allah drunk with alcohol and eating pork when almost 5 lakh musselman killed in Syria alone, what the fck is Allah doing? This proves Allah wallah is not there you foools. Give up Arab slavery called Islam.
            1. I
              IslamForFooools
              Jul 22, 2017 at 12:41 pm
              Kuran kills LGBT , kuran is toilet paper, at least toilet paper is useful for one purpose, Kurna is good for nothing, only terrorism is originating in Kurna, which is why Isis, alqueda have Kurna in one hand and AK 47 in another
          2. G
            Gomathi Raghavan
            Jul 22, 2017 at 8:39 am
            If transgenders want to lead a normal life they should eschew nuisance refrain from thrusting themselves unnecessarily. often they overstep exhibit insensitivity. they should try to inculcate normal way of life not expect special consideration. MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE THEY SHOULD STAY WITHIN BOUNDARIES. transgenders have popularised film songs.
            Reply
            1. A
              ARC
              Jul 22, 2017 at 6:25 am
              Shahrukh Khan SRK has donated a lot to Pakistan and I do know that he has so much love for Pakistan and he is partly Pakistani for his loyalty and sympathy to Pakistan. Dawood was an Indian and the moment he needs to run after blasting Mumbai as a terrorist he goes to Pak. What do you think SRK will do when he has to run? He will go to his native Pak. SRK has acted in so many movies. He has a long career. In how many movies, did SRK have played the role of an Army-Man or special agent who fought against Ppaakistan's conspiracy? None. In Veer-Jara he just played an officer who fell in love with a Pakistani girl. In Main hoon Na, he didn't fight against any Pakistani agent, instead faught an extreme Indian ex-soldier. Actualy, SRK rejects any movie where he is to play against Pak. No wonder all Muslims in India will always be Muslim first and Indian never.
              Reply
              1. B
                Buddha
                Jul 22, 2017 at 7:10 am
                Looks like the effect of whatever you smoked last night hasn't weared off yet.
                Reply
                1. I
                  IslamForFooools
                  Jul 22, 2017 at 9:13 am
                  Looks like your mother had hot iron rod inserted in her v a g i n a to produce you, kil your mom for producing jihadi terrorist of Islamic origin like you, plz kilfo522
                  1. R
                    rajan
                    Jul 22, 2017 at 11:58 am
                    Buddha, you don't need to take cognisance of morons like incorrigible IFF.
                  2. R
                    rajan
                    Jul 22, 2017 at 12:10 pm
                    ARC, you are so involved in hate SRK campaign that you forget that the versatile actor showed his potential in probably his debut TV serial 'Fauji'. Scratch your cerebrum, if you need to, to restore some sanity in your thought process. Remember, hatred against anyone is a reprehensible disposition and more self-denigrating than its potential of diminishing the stature of its subject.
                    Reply
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