Transgenderism in India is a widely known culture yet many have no proper awareness about the community yet in order to overcome as well as to secure the rights of such communities, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons, under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
As per the notification by the ministry on Aug 21, 2020 the Council is to be headed by the Union Social Justice Minister. Five members of the trangender community, tenure being 3 years. It comprises of members from 10 central departments.
The Council will also have joint secretary level members from ministries of health, minority affairs, education, labour, rural development.
In addition to the ministries, the council will also have members from Human Rights Commissions, NITI Aayog and National Commission for women.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019
The following are the key features of the act
1] Definition of a Transgender Person: It defines transgender as the person who does not match gender assigned at birth.
2] The Act states that a transgender person shall have the right to self-perceived gender identity. A transgender may make an application to the District Magistrate a Certificate of Identity indicating gender as “Transgender.”
3] Act prohibits discrimination against the transgender persons which includes education, access to goods, employment, health care, right to residence with their parents or immediate family members.
4] To provide right of health facilities to transgender persons including sex reassignment surgeries and HIV surveillance centres.
5] Act also states offences against transgender persons will attract imprisonment between six months and two years, in addition to a fine.
Functions of the Council
The council has five main functions as follows
1] To advise the central government on formulation of policies, legislation, programmes and projects with respect to transgender persons
2] To monitor and evaluate impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgenders.
3] To review and coordinate activities of all departments
4] To redress grievances of transgender persons
5] To perform other functions as prescribed by the centre.
The establishment of National Council for Transgender Persons perhaps will increases awareness and inculcate sense of respect and acceptance for transgender community. However, it now depends on the effective functioning of the council where it might be able to identify the issues faced by the transgender community and accordingly advice the government.
There is also a need for an inclusive approach, sensitising legal and law enforcement systems in particular towards the issues of transgender community and also punishments set for criminal offences against the transgenders such as physical abuse or sexual abuse are minimal as compared to any other offence.
Credit: Vinita shetty