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India’s lower Parliament house passes bill ‘defining’ transgender

India’s lower Parliament house passes bill ‘defining’ transgender

LGBTI and allies in India hold a rainbow flag

India’s lower house of their bicameral Parliament, the Lok Sabha, passed a bill about transgender identity on Monday (17 December).

Politicians introduced the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill in 2016. According to the Times of India, it passed on Monday with 27 amendments.

Union social justice and empowerment minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said the government accepted the 27 amendments.

‘A long discussion has taken place on this issue,’ he added. ‘It has also gone to the parliamentary standing committee. We have included several of their suggestions.

He concluded the bill is complete, and explained its purpose. Gehlot said the bill aims to ‘define’ transgender, as well as recognize and protect the interests of trans individuals.

Several members of the Lok Sabha, however, believe the bill is deeply flawed.

What are they saying?

One member, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar described the creation of the bill as ‘hasty’.

‘First, we have to define what transgender means,’ she said. ‘This bill has to be returned.’

Many of the complaints dealt with language and a belief that the bill does not go far enough to serve transgender people in India.

Another member, Shashi Tharoor, said: ‘We need to recognize transgenders’ identities as it goes beyond male and female. The bill also fails to define discrimination against transgenders.’

He also requested the minister withdraw the bill for further ‘serious discussion’.

It is unknown if the bill will be withdrawn and changed at all. Reports say the bill may be introduced to the upper house of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, soon.

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