Maya Awasthy talked about Contemporary Legal & Judicial Proceedings & Way Forward surrounding the rights and recognition of India’s transgender community. It starts by making a reference to the British colonial era, when transgender people (Hijras) faced discrimination and criminalization. It draws attention to the consequences of the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, which labelled the Hijras as a criminal tribe.
NALSA Judgement: The Turning Point For Transgender Rights
The discussion then shifts to the significant NALSA decision from 2014, in which the Supreme Court established the third gender category and recognised the fundamental rights of transgender people. The court’s decision strongly emphasized self-identification without the need for surgery or other medical intervention.
The Transgender Act of 2019 was introduced in response to the demand for comprehensive legislation, as well, according to Maya Awasthy. It goes over the Act’s provisions for education and reservation as well as the creation of a National Council for Transgender Persons. The Act also covers the process for obtaining an identity certificate and the recognition of transgender identity.
Limitation and Issues in Implementation
Maya Awasthy draws attention to the difficulties and flaws in the system, such as the discrimination trans children experience and the demand for parental involvement in obtaining certificates. It highlights the requirement for additional advancement in the Act’s implementation, including the provision of healthcare services, distinct public facilities, and social welfare programs for the transgender community. Maya Awasthy summarizes the historical background, recent legal advancements, and ongoing difficulties relating to transgender rights in India.
- Historical Discrimination: Maya Awasthy sheds light on the historical discrimination experienced by the transgender community in India, particularly during the British colonial era. Hijras were marginalized and stigmatized because of the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, which labelled them as a criminal tribe.
- NALSA Judgement: In 2014, the NALSA judgement marked an important turning point for transgender rights in India. The right of transgender people to self-identify without having to undergo surgical or medical procedures was upheld by the Supreme Court, who also acknowledged their fundamental rights. The legal recognition and protection of transgender rights were made possible by this decision.
- Transgender Act of 2019: The Transgender Act of 2019 was introduced to offer the transgender community comprehensive legal protection as well as welfare measures. The topics of social inclusion, education, healthcare, and employment opportunities were all addressed. The Act establishes guidelines for the creation of state and federal welfare boards as well as the National Council for Transgender Persons.
- Implementation Challenges: Despite legal improvements, transgender rights are still not effectively implemented. Maya Awasthy calls attention to the prejudice and discrimination that transgender children experience in society. Additionally, some people experience practical challenges as a result of the requirement for parental involvement in order to obtain identity certificates.
- Further Progress is Needed: Maya Awasthy emphasizes the significance of additional development in the Transgender Act’s implementation. The implementation of social welfare programmes that address the particular needs of the transgender community is a key area of focus, as is the provision of accessible healthcare services tailored to the needs of transgender people. Separate public facilities are also important for ensuring safety and dignity.
Finally, Maya Awasthy offers insights into the background, recent legal developments, and difficulties relating to transgender rights in India. It highlights the significance of ongoing initiatives to eliminate prejudice, ensure social inclusion, and defend the fundamental rights of the transgender community.
Read more session reports from Day 5 of Beyond Binaries: Understanding Sexual Identities and Queer Rights Issues in India