India: Trans demonstrators protest Transgender Persons Bill

Trans citizens in India have taken to the streets to protest the country’s Transgender Persons Bill.

Many argue that the law, aimed to protect trans citizens, could have a negative impact on their livelihoods.

Demonstrations took place in Mumbai, India’s largest city, and Bengaluru, in the south of the country.

The bill has already passed through India’s lower parliamentary house, the Lok Sabha, and is awaiting ratification in the upper house, the Rajya Sabha.

Critics say the bill is problematic because it requires members of the trans community to be assessed by “screening committees” to determine whether a person is trans or not.

Gender recognition certificates will be issued to trans people after examinations take place by health officers.

LGBT+ Indians take part in Chennai Pride in June 2018.

People take part in a Pride parade in Chennai in India in June 2018 (ARUN SANKAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Madhumita, a trans woman, told The Times of India that the bill threatens the trans community, adding that provisions in the bill ban trans citizens from begging, which many are forced to rely on for their income.

“There is nothing that provides alternative employment opportunities,” Madhumita said.

“It is precisely because of a rigid mindset and discrimination at the workplace that transgenders resort to begging.”

LGBT rights in India

India has made significant progress when it comes to LGBT+ rights, including legalising gay marriage earlier this year.

In September, India’s Supreme Court  made a unanimous decision to overturn the ban on consensual same-sex relations, a law dating back to colonial times.

Earlier this year, a transgender couple tied the knot in a groundbreaking wedding.

Surya and Ishaan K Shaan became the first trans pair to ever marry in Kerala, a state in India with more than 34 million people.

The couple married in front of more than 500 people in a beautiful ceremony at Mannam Hall in Thiruvananthapuram, after a change in Indian law allowed for trans people to marry.

Despite this, though, discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is still rife.