Rights of people from the LGBT Community

Introduction:

In India, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights have progressed dramatically in recent years. However, Indian LGBT individuals continue to suffer societal and legal challenges that non-LGBT citizens do not encounter.

What do you understand by LGBTQ?

LTGQB are abbreviations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. These phrases refer to a person’s gender identification or sexual orientation.

The initialism, as well as some of its frequent forms, has been in use since the 1990s as a catch-all phrase for sexuality and gender identity. Beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, the word LGBT was adapted from the initialism LGB, which began to supplant the term gay in reference to the larger LGB population. When transgender persons are not included, the shorter-term LGB is used instead of LGBT.

It can refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual or non-cisgender, rather than only lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or transgender persons. LGBTQ includes the letter Q for people who identify as queer or are questioning their sexual or gender identity to highlight this inclusivity.

Evolution of LGBTQ rights in India

Recently, the Indian government has removed colonial-era regulations that discriminated directly against homosexual and transgender identities, as well as specifically interpreting Article 15 of the Constitution to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, important legal safeguards, such as same-sex marriage, remain unaddressed.

The British colonial government created Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in the pre-independence era, which criminalised all forms of non-procreative sexual relations. The tyrannical rule not only targeted gays, but also all other sorts of non-traditional sexual activity, including within heterosexual relationships. As a result, this rule was nothing more than a holdover from Victorian orthodoxy, which had no place in a democratic society like India.
                 However, it took more than 70 years and nearly two decades of judicial battles to overturn this antiquated statute, which had become a tool for harassing and exploiting anybody who didn’t fit into the standard binary of sexuality and gender.

Under laws implemented in 2019, transgender persons in India can alter their legal gender after undergoing sex reassignment surgery and have the constitutional right to register as a third gender.

Furthermore, several states provide accommodation for hijras, a traditional third-gender community in South Asia, as well as social benefits, pension systems, free procedures in government hospitals, and other programmes aimed at assisting them. According to the 2011 Census, India has roughly 480,000 transgender persons.

RAINBOW`S RIGHTS: THE QUEER COMMUNITY OF INDIA

Recent events, including the liberalisation of article 377, the introduction of the first trans rights bill in 2014 by Tiruchi Siva, and the passage of the BJP-sponsored trans rights bill in both chambers in 2019 have brought the plight of India’s LGBTQ population into the spotlight. Although there are numerous references to LGBTQIA+ people in epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana through innumerable stories like that of Shikandi, a presumably trans man who had “transitioned” when a yaksha granted their wish, it is ironic how in today’s society the queer community is considered to be something which “surfaced recently” or as some say, came in through western propaganda.

Stories of Budh Graha, a guy who married a trans woman despite being neither a man nor a woman at birth. The Ramayana tells the tale of Yuvanashva, a man who gets pregnant and delivers birth. An incident involving the Hijra people and Rama’s return to Ayodhya from Vanavas is also mentioned in the epic. Because it is impossible for there to be a Rama Rajya if individuals are excluded because of their gender, Rama finds them waiting outside the gates of Ayodhya and brings them inside.

The latest trans protection measure merits special attention because it was opposed by the LGBTQ community through pride parades, demonstrations, protests, etc. This raises the issue of why the same organisation is opposed to the measure that is intended to help trans individuals. Trans activists have called attention to what they see as the unjust sections of the law, namely Grace Banu. The idea that the community was not involved in the process of creating laws (bills) was frequently criticised.

They contend that this measure did not adequately take into account their opinions and demands.
The process for legalising a person’s gender was extensively criticised in the provision. The district magistrate will issue a “transgender certificate” based on the applicant’s self-declared identification in the first stage, which is to go there and apply. They can submit an application to alter their gender after receiving this certificate. The issue with this stage is that individuals must provide documentation of sex reassignment surgery signed and approved by a healthcare authority. In essence, this creates a model that each individual must fit into in order to be legally classified as trans. The legitimacy of such credentials must also satisfy the officials. It should be remembered that being trans does not require surgery. Even taking hormone medication is not required. It is entirely up to the individual whether they choose to dress more femininely or more masculinely, shorten or grow their hair, or use cosmetics or clothing in place of surgery. The fact that this procedure requires people to have procedures in order for them to be recognised as valid violates their right to privacy, doesn’t it?

When a person’s queerness is decided by another person, isn’t that a violation? Will this clause contradict the NALSA ruling in addition to the right to privacy? The UN, WHO, and other organisations have long maintained that in certain situations, legal and medical procedures should be kept separate. Legal recognition can be obtained without going through any medical procedures.

Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, was passed with the goal of protecting transgender people’s rights by preventing discrimination in employment, education, healthcare, and access to government and private businesses. However, in the guise of community empowerment, the law exposes individuals to more institutional tyranny and dehumanises their bodies and identities.

Discrimination against transgender people is prohibited by the bill, which includes denial of service or unfair treatment in the following areas:

  1. education;
  2. employment;
  3. healthcare;
  4. access to, or enjoyment of, goods, facilities, or opportunities available to the general public;
  5. right to movement;
  6. right to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy the property;
  7. opportunity to hold public or private office; and
  8. access to a government facility

The measure takes away an individual’s ability to choose his or her sexual orientation, which is a key component of the right to privacy established by the NALSA decision. According to the bill, changing one’s gender identification on official records is only possible after proof of sex reassignment surgery, which must be verified by a District Magistrate. This deprives the Trans community of their essential human right to autonomy and privacy, as well as exposes them to harassment by authorities.

Conclusion:

  • Given the discrimination and harassment that LGBT+ individuals suffer in the workplace, it is critical for the government to pass new legislation or change current ones to make workplaces safer for LGBT+ people.
  • The rules must also be significantly rewritten to ensure that LGBT+ couples receive all of the employment perks that a heterosexual pair receives.

References:

  1. https://prsindia.org/billtrack/the-transgender-persons-protection-of-rights-bill-2019 
  2. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/193543132/ 
  3. https://www.hrc.org/resources/sexual-assault-and-the-lgbt-community 

Aishwarya Says:

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