Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 was passed by the Lok Sabha.

Features of the Bill

Definition of a transgender person

The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.

The definition encompasses trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.

Intersex variations are defined to mean a person who at birth shows variation in his or her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from the normative standard of a male or female body.

Prohibition against discrimination

The Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to: (i) education; (ii) employment; (iii) healthcare; (iv) access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public; (v) right to movement; (vi) right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property; (vii) opportunity to hold public or private office; and (viii) access to a government or private establishment in whose care or custody a transgender person is.

Right of Residence

Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.  The bill also provides that if the immediate family is unable to care for the transgender person, the person may be placed in a rehabilitation centre, on the orders of a competent court.

Employment

The bill states that no government or private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment, and promotion.

The bill also mandates every establishment to designate a person to be a complaint officer to deal with complaints in relation to the bill.

Education

The bill also requires Educational institutions funded or recognised by the relevant government to provide inclusive education, sports and recreational facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.

Health care

The bill asks the government to take steps for providing health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries.  The government shall review the medical curriculum to address health issues of transgender persons, and provide comprehensive medical insurance schemes for them.

Certificate of identity for a Transgender Person

The bill requires a transgender person to make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.

Further, the bill provides for a revised certificate if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female.

Welfare measures by the government

The Bill asks the government to take measures to ensure the full inclusion and participation of transgender persons in society and take steps for their rescue and rehabilitation, vocational training and self-employment, create schemes that are transgender sensitive, and promote their participation in cultural activities.

Offences and penalties

The Bill recognizes the following offences against transgender persons:

  • Forced or bonded labour (excluding compulsory government service for public purposes).
  • Denial of use of public places.
  • Removal from the household, and village.
  • Physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse.

The bill prescribes Penalties for these offences which vary between six months and two years and a fine.

National Council for Transgender persons (NCT)

The bill provides for NCT will consist of: (i) Union Minister for Social Justice (Chairperson); (ii) Minister of State for Social Justice (Vice-Chairperson); (iii) Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice; (iv) one representative from ministries including Health, Home Affairs, and Human Resources Development.  Other members include representatives of the NITI Aayog, and the National Human Rights Commission along with representation from State governments.

The Council will also consist of five members from the transgender community and five experts from non-governmental organisations.

The Council will advise the central government as well as monitor the impact of policies, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons. It will also redress the grievances of transgender persons.

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