Everything about Transgender rights and schemes in India
- Indian Census never recognized third gender i.e. Transgender while collecting census data. But in 2011, data of Transgender was collected with details related to their employment, literacy and caste.
- As per 2011 Census, the total population of Transgender is 4.88 lakhs, highest being in Uttar Pradesh followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar.
- In National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India case (2014), Supreme Court of India declared transgender people to be a 'third gender'. It also affirmed that the fundamental rights granted under the Constitution of India will be equally applicable to transgender people, and gave them the right to self identification of their gender as male, female or third-gender.
- Mexico, Cuba, Equador, Bolivia, S.Africa, Portugal, Sweden, Nepal has one of one of the most progressive laws to protect gay rights by according Constitutional Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- W.Asian, C.Asian countries, Myanmar, Malaysia, Sri lanka Criminalize consensual activities between transgenders, to the score of life imprisonment to death penality.
- China, Russia, Indonesia, Paraguay, Turkey Neither grants Protection nor criminalise Transgender activity.
Rights in India
- India grants limited protection, with passage of Transgender Rights bill in 2019.
- In April 2017, the Ministry of Jal Shakti instructed states to allow transgender people to use the public toilet of their choice. Other states which follow the lead are: MP, MH, BH, RJ, DL, JK and AP.
- Transgender activist, writer A. Revathi became the first hijra to write about hijra issues and gender politics in Tamil. Her work was recognized by Cambridge University
- Joyita Mondal was appointed to the Islampur Lok Adalat, becoming West Bengal's first transgender judge.
- Shabnam Mausi is the first transgender Indian to be elected to public office. She was an elected member of the Madhya Pradesh State Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2003.
Government efforts for Transgender persons
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019
- The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes transmen and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.
- A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
- It calls for establishing a National Council for Transgender persons (NCT).
- The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to Education, Employment, Healthcare, Movement, Reside, Rent, public or private office, access a Govt or private establishment.
- The Act has a provision that provides transgender the right of residence with parents and immediate family members.
- It states the offences against Transgender persons will attract jail of 6 months to 2 years + fine.
- Bill also seeks to provide rights of health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries. Govt shall review medical curriculum and provide medical insurance.
Functions of National Council for Transgender Persons:
- Advising the Central government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons.
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons.
- Reviewing and coordinating the activities of all the departments.
- Redressing grievances of transgender persons.
- Performing such other functions as prescribed by the Centre.
Composition of the Council:
- Its chairperson will be the Union Minister of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- It will also consists of:
- Representatives from 5 states or UTs (one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions), on a rotational basis.
- Five members of the trangender community (one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions).
- The tenure of the community members shall be three years.
- Representatives from 10 central departments.
- The council will have joint secretary-level members from the Ministries of Health, Home, Minority Affairs, Education, Rural Development, Labour and Law.
- In addition, there will be a member from the Department of Pensions (Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions), NITI Aayog, National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women.
Garima Greh Scheme for Transgender persons
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is formulating a scheme for the welfare of the Transgender persons wherein setting up of shelter homes for destitute and needy Transgender Persons is included as one of the components.
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has initiated 12 pilot shelter homes and provided financial assistance to community based organizations (CBOs) for setting up of these shelter homes 'Garima Greh' for Transgender persons.
- These pilot shelter homes are in States of Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.
- The main aim of these shelter homes is to provide safe and secure shelter to Transgender persons in need.
- These shelter homes would provide basic amenities like food, medical care, recreational facilities and also conduct capacity-building/skill development programmes for Transgender persons.
- This Ministry is not implementing any Pension scheme.
- However, the Ministry of Rural Development implements the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) in which 3,384 Transgender are being provided monthly pension.
‘Transgender Community Desk’ at Gachibowli Police Station
- This is the first-of-its-kind gender inclusive community policing initiative in the country, the Cyberabad police inaugurated a ‘Transgender Community Desk’ at Gachibowli Police Station.
- The desk will be managed by a police liaison officer and a transgender person who is designated as community coordinator.
- It will be the focal point for all grievance redressal among the transgender community in the Cyberabad Commissionerate.
- The desk will provide support to file cases in offences related to violence or discrimination against any transgender person.
- Among other services, the desk will also provide counselling, legal aid, life skills, soft skills training, job placements, and referral linkages to welfare schemes in partnership with the Department of Women and Child Welfare, and District Legal Services Authority.
- The Society for Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC) will also organise monthly training, employability, life-skill training, and facilitate access to job opportunities, while Prajwala, a non-governmental organisation, would assist the desk to facilitate a safe space for any transgender person who needs emergency transit stay.
- Over 200 transgender persons participated in the event, during which Mr. Sajjanar spoke about the need to build an inclusive society ensuring equal opportunities for all.
National Portal for Transgender Persons:
- It has been launched in consonance with the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020.
- It would help transgenders in digitally applying for a certificate and identity card from anywhere in the country, thus preventing any physical interaction with officials.
- It will help them track the status of application, rejection, grievance redressal, etc. which will ensure transparency in the process.
- The issuing authorities are also under strict timelines to process the applications and issue certificates and I-cards without any necessary delays.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020
- The Central Government made the rules under the powers conferred by the
- Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
- The Act came into effect on 10th January 2020, which is the first concrete step towards ensuring welfare of transgender persons.
- The rules seek to recognise the identity of transgenders and prohibit discrimination in the fields of education, employment, healthcare, holding or disposing of property, holding public or private office and access to and use of public services and benefits.
- Definitions of ‘person with intersex variation’ and ‘transgender person’ have been provided to include trans men and trans women (whether or not such person has undergone sex reassignment surgery, hormone or other therapy).
- It prohibits the discrimination of transgender persons at educational establishments, in employment or occupational opportunities, healthcare services and access to public facilities and benefits.
- It further reinforces transgender persons’ right to movement, right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property.
- It provides for a right to self-perceived gender identity and casts an obligation on the district magistrate to issue a ‘certificate of identity’ as a transgender person, without the requirement of any medical or physical examination.
- If the transgender person undergoes medical intervention to change sex either as a male or female and requires a revised identity certificate then they would need to apply to the district magistrate along with a certificate issued by the medical superintendent or chief medical officer of the concerned hospital.
- Every establishment has been mandated to formulate an equal opportunity policy for transgender persons with certain specific information as prescribed under the law.
- This will help create inclusive establishments like inclusive education, etc.
- The process of inclusion also requires creation of infrastructure facilities like separate wards in hospitals and washrooms (unisex toilets).
- National Council for Transgender Persons: Constitution of the NCT to advise the government for the formulation and monitoring of policies and redress the grievances of transgender persons.
- Offences, like indulging transgender persons in forced or bonded labour or denial of access to public places or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
- Other offences committed under the provisions of the Transgender Persons Act, are punishable with imprisonment for a term of at least six months, extending up to two years along with fine.
Allowance to Transgender persons
- The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment being the nodal ministry for Transgender Welfare has decided to provide a subsistence allowance of Rs.1500 to each Transgender person as immediate support to meet their basic requirements.
- This financial assistance will help the Transgender community to meet their day-to-day needs. NGOs and Community-based Organisations(CBOs) working for Transgender Persons have been asked to spread awareness about this step.
- The Ministry provided similar financial assistance and ration kits to Transgender persons during lockdown last year too. A total amount of 98.50 lakh rupees was incurred which benefitted nearly 7000 Transgender Persons across the country.
Counselling Services Helpline - 8882133897
- As people facing mental health problems do not feel comfortable about seeking help due to the stigma around it, a free helpline for distressed Transgender Persons owing to the current pandemic for psychological support and mental health care has also been announced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Any Transgender Person can connect with experts on the Helpline Number 8882133897.
- This helpline will be functional from Monday to Saturday between 11 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM.
- On this helpline, counselling services will be provided by professional Psychologists for their mental health.
Vaccination of transgenders
- A letter has also been written by the Ministry to the Principal Secretaries of all states to ensure that there is no discrimination against Transgender persons in existing Covid /vaccination centers.
- They have also been requested to conduct awareness drives especially reaching out to the Transgender community in different vernaculars to ensure they are informed and aware of the vaccination process.
- A request has also been made to the states to organize separate mobile vaccination centers or booths for vaccination of Transgender persons such as those taken up in the states of Haryana & Assam.
SMILE scheme for Transgender persons
- The Government has approved a comprehensive scheme named "Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE)" which includes a sub- scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons.
- The Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE) scheme focuses on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities and intervention, counseling, education, skill development, economic linkages to the transgender persons.
State laws to protect transgender population:
- Odisha -‘Sweekruti’ to secure the rights of transgender persons and ensure equitable justice. Skill upgradation, legal aid, health care provision.
- Kerala: Transgender policy in 2015, Schools, Justice board for welfare of transgenders, Fully Transgender run metro station, G-Taxis: entirely owned and run by transgenders, free sex-reassignment surgeries.
- Tamil Nadu: Transgender welfare policy, free surgeries, first state to form Transgender board with members from the community.
- Chandigarh: Transgender board comprising members from all deparments viz., police, health, social welfare, education and the law department.