Transgender rights activists in India called on the government to release the full text of a controversial transgender rights bill.
Government lawmakers were on Friday expected to table the bill to the Upper House of parliament.
Leaders altered some of the most controversial provisions following a months-long backlash from the trans community, local media reported.
But, rights advocates this week called for cabinet to make the whole text available in multiple languages.
They also demanded parliament consulted the trans community and made relevant modifications, according to the wire.
Why is the transgender bill so controversial?
India recognized transgender as a third gender in a landmark ruling in 2014. The ruling guaranteed them the fundamental rights enshrined in India’s constitution.
But, transgender people remain marginalized and at risk of abuse.
Last year, cabinet drafted a Transgender Rights Bill. The Lower House of Parliament passed the bill in December.
The government claims it will ‘mitigate the stigma, discrimination, and abuse’.
But, the trans community have labled it a ‘travesty of justice’ and a ‘burial of rights’.
They warn it fails to uphold rights guaranteed in the 2014 court ruling.
For example, the bill criminalized begging for transgender people. India’s capital Delhi decriminalized begging last year.
It also forced trans people to seek approval from a ‘screening committee’ before changing gender.
What’s more, there were no provisions for the rights to marriage or family life for trans people. And, the bill contained no policies for protecting and including trans people on public transport, in education, or at the workplace.
What did cabinet change?
Cabinet last week removed a provision which forced transgender people to gain certification from a district screening committee to be acknowledged as a transgender, according to The Telegraph India.
Lawmakers also removed the section that criminalized begging. But, as the activists warned, government officials have released no official statement.
Speaking to Gay Star News on Tuesday (16 July), a spokesperson for local trans rights group, Sampoorna, said ‘we cannot take this news at face value’.
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Author: Rik Glauert