Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Monday apologised for referring to transgenders as the “other ones” in Parliament and said she was unaware of the official terminology for the community. Gandhi’s remark during a debate in the Lok Sabha on human trafficking had stoked controversy, with members of the transgender community criticising her for being insulting and discriminatory.
After a video of her speaking in the House went viral on social media, a user called her out saying she “sneered and jibed” at transgenders. Some also hit out at other MPs for laughing at her ignorance.
Maneka tweeted, “I sincerely apologise for using the term ‘other ones’ during the debate on the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, in Lok Sabha. I did not ‘snigger’, I was embarrassed at my own lack of knowledge. I was not aware of the official terminology for the transgender community.”
The WCD Minister added that all official communication, henceforth, will use the term transgenders. “I would like to assure that the #AntiTraffickingBill2018 is gender neutral and provides protection to the aggrieved,” she added.
The Bill, that has stringent imprisonment provisions for human trafficking, was passed by the Lok Sabha on the same day.
I was not aware of the official terminology for the transgender community. In future, all official communication will use the term TGs. I would like to assure that the #AntiTraffickingBill2018 is gender neutral and provides protection to the aggrieved.
— Maneka Gandhi (@Manekagandhibjp) July 30, 2018
Meera Sanghamitra, a member of the National Alliance for People’s Movements, had tweeted last week, “Insult of & discrimination against transgender persons is a mockery of Baba Saheb, the Constitution & Parliament which represents “We The People”. @Manekagandhibjp who sneered & jibed at us and all the MPs who thumped and laughed MUST APOLOGIZE. #NotOtherOnes.”