The festival of Raksha Bandhan was celebrated throughout India a day ago. Along with the festivals comes a group that has been ill-treated for centuries, whose approach to our threshold sends most people reeling, with people trying their best to get away, guided by their hatred.
India has all sorts of prejudices attributed towards this group which reeks of ignorance and resentment.
Such is the plight of the transgender community. A lot of them are forced to beg and knock on doors to make ends meet.
More astonishing is the reluctance of the general population to treat them as a fellow citizen of the society. The unwillingness to even make an effort to understand them or to show even an ounce of sympathy towards their maltreatment is baffling.
It’s embarrassing to admit that many acquaintances of mine, belonging to different age groups instantly get uncomfortable and shy away whenever I try to breach the subject.
Others react with plain hostility and would have the community convicted on the grounds of amoral behavior.
Anyone different from what’s considered normal in the old-fashioned society is immediately assigned the tag of the loathed individual who is a bane to the society.
On 5th August 2019, Lok Sabha passed the Transgender Protection Bill which was introduced by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot.
The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.
Intersex variations are defined in the Bill to mean a person who at birth shows variation in his or her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from the normative standards of the human body.
The Bill aims to protect the community against discrimination and unfair treatment concerning education, employment, residence, and health care.
However, here is where the Bill fails in its purpose. The Bill states that a transgender person has to 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.
There is a difference between transgender, transsexual and intersex condition. Transsexuals are people who transit from one sex to another, through medical means. A person born as a male can become recognizably female through the use of hormones and surgical procedures.
Transgender is a term for people whose identity, expression or the general sense of self does not conform to what is usually associated with the sex they were born with.
For example, a man who, despite having male genitalia, if feels he is a woman, is considered transgender whether or not he wants to undergo surgery.
Hence, this makes things more difficult for the already victimized people. This is the question of assigning labels to people in a time where most of the world is trying to do away with them.
People should not be asked to undergo expensive gender reassignment surgeries and then obtain a certificate which most likely would be a tedious venture for them.
Gender identity is defined by the Human Rights Campaign as the “innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.”
It can mirror what a person was assigned at birth, or be entirely different.
This hysteria and fear have led to a section of people who do not have the freedom to express who they are and how they see themselves. This is a blatant dismissal of a fundamental human right.
Do you think this condition set by the government is correct?
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