In conversation with Adv Pratibha Bangera to understand the Transgender Person (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and changes that may have to be introduced in school and work place in effect.
Q. What is the reason for lack of awareness among people about Transgender
A. About 355 out of every one lakh people in the world identify as transgender. The medical fraternity had ignored this till recent times due to which there is total lack of awareness in people about this condition. Transgender person feels trapped in a wrong gender and body and mentally feels like the opposite gender. While other members of the LGBT community like gays or lesbians discover this feeling in adolescence stage, transgender feels different from infancy or very young age and often the parents of transgender are unable to understand the reason behind this and chose to crush or silence these feelings. The new legislation is aimed at giving justice for transgender in India.
Q. What are the changes introduced vide TPPR Act in India for transgender?
A. The Transgender Persons (protection of rights act) 2019 is an Act which has come into effect from 10th January, 2020 vide notification in gazette on same date. Vide this Act now, a transgender can apply to Magistrate court for issuance of a certificate of identity as a transgender and even a minor can apply through a parent or a legal guardian. The Gender of the transgender thereafter will be documented for all purpose as per the certificate issued as proof of recognition of his/her identity as a transgender male/ female.
In the event the transgender undergoes sex identity change through surgery, the transgender can make Application before concerned court supported with medical proof of such sex change certified by chief medical officer at municipal authority so that a certificate of identity can be issued to permit him or her to officially make changes of name in birth certificate or other official documents.
Q. What are the welfare measures taken by the government for securing the transgender?
A. The welfare schemes include medical care facility including sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy for those who may want to avail the facility, release of health manuals in par with the world profession association for transgender health and review of medical curriculum for research by doctors to address specific health issues.
Another facet of this Act is to introduce comprehensive medical insurance schemes for sex reassignment surgery, hormonal therapy, laser therapy and other health issues of transgender persons which a transgender person may require.
This Act has envisages to spread awareness as per NACO guidelines on HIV cases in transgender victims forced into begging or reduced to prostitution after being thrown out of their families.
Q. Does this Act have criminal consequences as well?
A. Under this Act if any person is found guilty of compelling a transgender to do bonded labour, or restricts freedom of movement to transgender in public places or prevents use of toilets of preferred choice, or forces a transgender to leave his/her house, village or residence, endangers life, safety or health of a transgender, or even subjects a transgender to physical, verbal, sexual, emotional or economic abuse the offender will be punished with imprisonment upto two years along with penalty in addition to other criminal and penal liability as per the offence committed.
Q. How can a transgender prove such abuse?
A. The judiciary will insist on oral or documentary proofs so the police machinery will have to be informed and any police complaint made by a transgender or his parents or guardian before concerned police station will be registered as a complaint and police may conduct investigation as in other criminal offences and if the problem is ongoing in school or workplace or public places, they can conduct a sting operation to nail such activities at place of offence within home or in public places. Most educational institutions or work place will have to display notice or messages to educate students or teachers or colleagues at work place about the criminal consequences if there is a complaint. This law will pick up like other Acts of similar nature such as sexual harassment act once the momentum picks up.
Q. What is the role of the National council constituted under this Act?
A. It is a matter of time where they may be strict checking and sting operations conducted to prevent and rescue transgender from unfair treatment at educational institutions, work place to ensure safety as well as secure equal right to reside, purchase, rent or occupy any property or hold public post or private office or even use public toilet of their preference and choice to secure their safety which is the responsibility given to the National council established under this Act.
Q. What about marriage law or domestic violence or rape issues that a transgender may suffer
A. Transgender man or transgender woman will have same status as persons born male or female at birth. Also all laws that applies to marriage or adoption or domestic violence will apply likewise even in cases of transgender as there is no specific mention of these provisions but the inferred meaning would be that after certification or sex change, a transgender will be treated as per the gender granted by law to the transgender. However, there is no specific section giving recognition of marriage with same gender or for adoption or surrogacy which also will have to be introduced to this as amendment or introduce a separate Act for such decisions sooner or later to give it real effect.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.