New Delhi: In a landmark move, the central government on Tuesday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to give the transgender community a separate identify and also remove all stigma associated with the community.
Union Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot introduced the bill after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected the argument from Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) member N.K. Premchandran, who was opposing the introduction.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, seeks to set up a mechanism to protect transgenders from exploitation, also seeks to do away with discrimination against the community and giving them the right to “self-perceived” gender identity, officials said.
In April 2015, in a pathbreaking decision, the Rajya Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill which incidentally was introduced in the upper House as a private member bill by the DMK member Tiruchi Siva.
The Bill now introduced by the government in Lok Sabha also mentions equipping every establishment with a grievance redressal process to ensure protection from harassment and discrimination.
It also aims at empowering the transgender community, and allows for stringent punishment for crimes committed against transgender persons in India, which home to 6 lakh people from the community, according to the 2011 Census.
The Union cabinet on July 20 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the bill.
“Through this bill the government has evolved a mechanism for their social, economic and educational empowerment,” an official announcement had said.
The draft legislation, government says, will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against “this marginalized section”.
The new law will help bring the community into the mainstream of society, an official source added.