THE CABINET on Thursday approved the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill with the stated purpose of providing “a mechanism for their social, economic, and educational empowerment”.
The Bill defines transgender persons as those “whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-men or trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons having socio-cultural identities such as kinnar, hijras, aravani and jogta”. It prohibits any person or establishment from discriminating against a transgender person in any way.
It also states that the government, through an insurance scheme, will cover medical expenses for sex reassignment surgery, hormonal therapy, laser therapy or any such health related expenses of transgender persons. A National Council for Transgender persons can be set up, under the legislation, to advise the central government on related policies and legislation as also to for grievance redressal.
Acknowledging the issues faced by the community including social exclusion, discrimination, and lack of access to education, healthcare, and jobs, the government in a statement issued on Thursday said, “The Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society. This will lead to inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of the society.”
The Bill to outline and protect the rights of transgender and intersex person was earlier passed by the 16th Lok Sabha along with 27 amendments introduced by the government. It was passed even in the face of staunch opposition to some of its provisions from civil society groups representing transgenders, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals.