• The transgender community, in addition to social stigma, also faces problems enrolling themselves as voters due to lack of legal documents.
• The Transgender community in India is also one of the most neglected and Backward community in India.
Key provisions of the draft bill:
• The Union Government of India recently released the draft of the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015.
• It proposes reservation benefit for transgenders. According to the draft, transgender, who by birth do not belong to the backward class, such as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, would be eligible for reservations under the existing ceiling of the OBC (Other Backward Classes) category.
• Also, transgenders would not be prevented from competing for seats that are not reserved for them, according to the draft.
• As per the draft, transgenders will be declared as the third gender and the person should reserve the right to identify as ‘man,’ ‘woman’ or ‘transgender’, and would also have the option to choose any of the options, regardless of surgery or hormones. Nomenclatures such as ‘other’ or ‘others’ should not be used when referring to transgender.
• The Draft Bill promises to issue identity certificates so that transgenders can be included in the mainstream.
• The certificate thus issued will be accepted by all authorities to indicate the gender on official documents such as ration cards, passports, birth certificates, and Adhaar cards.
• Another remarkable initiative outlined in the draft is the creation of anti-discriminatory cells in education institutions and universities to monitor and prevent discrimination against the transgender community.
• Government and local authorities shall ensure participation of transgenders in adult education and continuing education programs at par with others. Students in this category will also be entitled to receive benefits such as scholarships, entitlements, and fee-waivers at subsidized rates. Free textbooks and free accommodation would also be provided.
Supreme Court’s Directives on Rights of Transgenders:
• In a path-breaking judgment, the Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutional rights and freedoms of transgender persons, including those who identify themselves as the third gender and those who identify themselves in a gender opposite to their biological sex, i.e., persons, assigned female sex at birth, identifying as male and vice-versa. By recognizing diverse gender identities, the Court has broken the binary gender construct of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ that has pervaded Indian law.
• Supreme Court, granted of equal rights and protection to transgender persons; inclusion of a third category in recording one’s sex/gender in identity documents like the election card, passport, driving license and ration card; and for admission in educational institutions, hospitals, amongst others.