While the BJP has launched a campaign seeking suggestions for its election manifesto, there is one group which clearly is keen on knowing the party’s views on same-sex partnerships and introducing a comprehensive anti-discriminatory Bill covering the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex community.
“Yes, we are keen on understanding which party will support our demands,” Bindumadhav Khire, an engineer and gay Marathi writer, told The Indian Express. Founder of Samapathik Trust that works towards creating awareness about health-related issues among the LGBTI community in Pune and Pimpri, Khire said they have highlighted four issues.
In Pune and Pimpri, there are an approximate 10,000 such people, according to estimates, Khire said, adding that they had already sent a list of their demands to some political parties. “We want legal recognition and protection to same-sex couples similar to a civil union/marriage. Hence, we are demanding a legislation along the lines of the Special Marriage Act of 1954. This will also help frame guidelines about the partner in being listed as a dependent, inheritance rights or seeking alimony in the event of a divorce,” Khire said.
According to him, there is also a need to introduce a comprehensive anti-discriminatory Bill covering the LGBTI community. “The Bill should cover direct and indirect discrimination. Discrimination by association and by presumption in all areas should be included and not just limited to education, medical services, profession and housing. The present Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill covers only discrimination but it does not apply to gay and bisexual men and women,” Khire said.
“There is also a need to remove the lacunae from the Transgender Persons Bill, particularly regarding the right to define their identity. The Bill gives the right to a district committee to grant the identification certificate and this provision does not have an appeal process. There is also a need for reservation in jobs and since adequate provision for their employment is not there, they are demanding their right to seek alms,” Khire said.
The LGBTI community has also demanded changes in the Surrogacy Regulation Bill of 2016. Single persons should have the right to access the technology and apply for surrogacy. The condition that only close relatives can be surrogate mothers should be removed and the surrogate mother should be remunerated adequately.