CHENNAI: All India Mahila Congress has termed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill of the Union Social Justice Ministry ‘regressive and devoid of compassion’.“The Bill is silent on reservation for transpersons in educational institutions and government jobs. This has been a cause of concern aside from criminalisation of begging,” Apsara Reddy, national general secretary, told UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during a discussion on the legislation.
Reddy added, “When we are ostracised and have no way to feed ourselves, my community members resort to begging. Without provision for jobs, housing or medical aid we can’t criminalise a community that has no means of survival.”
During discussion with Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi, Sushmita Dev, AIMC president said, “It is violative of human rights when we penalise a community for truly being who they are. Lack of opportunities have rendered transgender community to remain impoverished for far too long.”
Dev and Apsara Reddy explained the oversight of BJP in authoring the Bill which only further subjugates the community. “NALSAR judgment allows for individuals to identify as male or female. This Bill opposes the process of self-identification and leaves the freedom of an individual in hands of district medical officer and screening committee. This amounts to snatching rights of an individual to truly be who they are,” Dev said.
Sonia Gandhi, after going through the points assured AIMC office-bearers that the party will do all it can to uphold the dignity and rights of transgenders.