Context: The Government has released a new Draft of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020, along with giving a window of 30 days for suggestions and amendments.
- In 2014, the Supreme Court recognised a transgender person’s right to self-identify their gender as male, female or the third gender.
- Further, the Court directed central and state governments to grant legal recognition to transgender persons, address social stigma and discrimination faced by them, and provide social welfare schemes for them.
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 was passed on November 26, 2019.
- It allows persons to self-perceive their gender identity, provides for the identification of transgender persons, and confers them with certain rights and benefits.
- Following the notification of the Act, the government circulated the Draft Rules to the Act on April 16, 2020 for public feedback.
About the rules:
- The Centre has done away with the requirement of a medical examination for trans persons applying for a certificate of identity to the district magistrate.
- They would be required to fill out a form and submit an affidavit saying they perceive themselves to be “a transgender person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned at birth” and that they “declare” themselves to be transgender
- In case of gender change application by a trans person, a certificate from the medical superintendent or chief medical officer of the medical institution where the applicant underwent the intervention would be required.
- A series of welfare measures has also been proposed including -
- Making at least one hospital in each State equipped to provide safe and free gender affirming surgery, hormone replacement therapy and counselling.
- Providing medical insurance cards to them.
- Awarding scholarships, facilitating accommodation and schooling for trans children.
- Ensuring access to food security to them.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019:
- It defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.
- It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.
- It prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to: (i) education; (ii) employment; (iii) healthcare; (iv) access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public.
- Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household. If the immediate family is unable to care for the transgender person, the person may be placed in a rehabilitation centre, on the orders of a competent court.
- A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
- A revised certificate may be obtained only if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female.
- It states that the relevant government will take measures to ensure the full inclusion and participation of transgender persons in society.
- National Council for Transgender persons (NCT) would be established to advise the central government as well as monitor the impact of policies, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons.
- It will also redress the grievances of transgender persons.
- It will consist of:
- Union Minister for Social Justice (Chairperson);
- Minister of State for Social Justice (Vice- Chairperson);
- Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice;
- one representative from ministries including Health, Home Affairs, and Human Resources Development.
- Other members include representatives of the NITI Aayog, and the National Human Rights Commission.
- State governments will also be represented.
- The Council will also consist of five members from the transgender community and five experts from non-governmental organisations.