The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 currently being tabled in the Rajya Sabha, has been strongly critiqued, and rejected by the trans community due to its contentious and violating nature

The Winter Session of the Parliament commenced on 18th November, and the impending tabling of the regressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha began on 20th November. The Bill had been earlier passed by the Lower House in August.

Despite its deceiving nomenclature, the Bill in fact offers no protection or real mainstreaming measures for the Indian trans community and instead, reeks of transphobia and ignorance. The bill stands to dehumanize and further ostracize the marginalised community.

For trans people to legally identify as a different gender,the Bill purports a two-step procedure. The step of ‘screening and certification’ in front of a district magistrate and a medical screening committee, under this procedure, is an arbitrary and demeaning measure that violates the personhood, agency and privacy of a trans person. This measure reflects the Bill’s narrow and ignorant understanding of ‘gender’. It also stands in contradiction of the 2014 NALSA Judgement passed by the apex court that granted the right of self-identification.

The Bill rejects the need for reservation for transgender people in education, healthcare, and employment, denying the reality of how transgender people do not have an undemanding or safe access to these, due to lack of financial resources and rampant discrimination.

Further, the bill mandates transgender people to live with their birth families, where they are most often met with rejection and hostility. It denies them the right to live with their chosen families/communities/partners etc. Thus, the Bill criminalises traditional Hijra livelihoods and families. The Bill gives a maximum sentence of 2 years to anyone who sexually violates a transgender person which upon comparison with the extension of a sentence up to lifetime upon the violation of a cisgender woman, reveals how the bill blatantly encodes discrimination against transgender people with lower penalties for violence against them.

The following Instagram post, by @theypfoundation via @inbreakthrough follows the intricacies of the Tran Bill, in conversation with Bittu, a scientist and a gender queer transman.

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The Transgender Bill is currently in the Rajya Sabha. Here is a refresher on what it is and why it is problematic. #flawsinlaws Posted @withrepost • @inbreakthrough The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 was recently passed in the Lok Sabha. The trans community has been raising many concerns about the bill, here’s why: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ____________________________________________ #TransBill #transbill2019 #killthetransbill #loksabha #news #transrights #transcommunity #translivesmatter #passthemic #listentotransvoices #demands #reservations #statement #killthebill #killbill #transrightsarehumanrights #transrightsmatter #transvoices #transvoicesmatter #discrimination #violence #transphobia #queerphobia #supporttransrights #transgenderrights

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Ray R, a transwoman studying law at University of Delhi says (via Twitter), “The trans community believes that the current Bill being discussed in the Rajya Sabha makes a mockery of their personhood, community, rights and only adds to everyday humiliation and violation…”

On 24th and 25th November, Delhi and Bengaluru respectively, witnessed the Delhi Queer Pride and the Namma Pride. As thousands flocked to celebrate at the processions, many wore black to stand in support with the trans community and protest the regressive Trans Bill.

Feature Image Credits: Vaibhav Tekchandni

Story Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat

Prisha Saxena

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The past week has seen turmoil over the matter of attendance and the issuance of admit cards to the students of the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College for Women, and Hindu College.

Affiliated to the University of Delhi and located in Punjabi Bagh, the college boasts of a rich legacy of more than fifty years in serving quality education to young women.

According to a series of posts on social media, as well as first-hand student accounts, the administration and Principal of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College refused to give admit cards ahead of the University semester exams scheduled in November and December months, to the students who had been irregular in classes during the past semester. This move by the college administration has been taken on account of their attendance being less than the minimum mark of sixty-seven percent (67%), as specified by the University. 

Moreover, as per the students, the Principal is not willing to accept any medical certificates or submission of leave applications. The students have also said that the college authorities have made it clear to the students that they will have to spend four years (i.e. 3+1 years) to complete their degree, in light of this decision. 

In response to these decisions, the students of the college, led by Tushar Baisla, the Chief Executive Councillor (EC) of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU), raised their voices and organised a sit-in at the college gate to demand for their admit cards. The ABVP-backed student leader’s posts on social media regarding this matter read ‘…she (the Principal) said in front of all the students that she will charge a case of molestation to me and rusticate students who are asking for the admit card. I request upper authorities to have a look at this matter so that students of the college do not face any problem.”

A final year Economics Honours student of the college, who chose to be anonymous, said, “They (the college administration) should have warned us, they cannot take arbitrary decisions.”

A final word from the college is awaited on this matter. 

A similar situation was also faced by the students of Hindu College, where those having less than forty percent (40%) attendance during the semester, were denied admit cards. However, the admit cards were given to the students by November 25th, 2019, after the ‘Collective – Hindu College’ planned to address the college authorities, on this matter. 

As per the message that had been circulated on WhatsApp groups by the Collective, ‘withholding of admit cards by the Hindu College administration, has happened for the first time, no prior information was given to the students about this intention of the administration in the beginning of the semester. Thus, no due process of issuing a warning to students was followed by the administration, as mandated by the University.”

Notably, students active in the performing arts society were targeted by the administration, to much agitation and revulsion. The nation-wide representation of the college, made possible by dramatics, dance, and music societies was levelled down as the parents and concerned guardians of these students were alerted via unsolicited calls. The administration went to the extent of suggesting the parents to remove their wards from the respective societies and instead enforce academic aspirations. It was only after this performative disciplinarian action that the students were given their admit cards, however, not without signing an undertaking first.

While on the one hand, the issue seems to be resolved by the Hindu College administration, uncertainty still looms over the decision in Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College. 

Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express

Bhavya Pandey 

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