The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019
This Act provides for the protection of the rights of transgender persons, their welfare, and connected matters. Parliament passed this Act on December 5, 2019, and it applies to the whole of India.
a transgender person as someone whose gender does not match the one assigned to
them at birth. The term includes trans-men and trans-women, whether or not they
have undergone a ‘sex reassignment surgery’, or hormone, laser, or other such
therapy. It also includes persons with intersex variations, genderqueer
persons, and those “…having such socio-cultural identities as kinner, hijra,
aravani and jogta.”
How does the Act prohibit discrimination against transgender persons?
The Act says that no person or establishment shall discriminate against a transgender person in relation to education; healthcare services; employment or occupation; the right to movement; purchasing or renting any property; standing for or holding public office; or accessing any goods, accommodation, service, facility, benefit, privilege or opportunity available to the general public.
What does the Act say about recognising a transgender person's identity?
The law states that transgender person shall have the right to be recognised as such, in accordance with the Act’s provisions. A person recognised as transgender under this Act shall have a right to their self-perceived gender identity.
To be recognised as transgender, a person may apply to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity as a transgender person. If the applicant is a minor, the application shall be made by the child’s parent or guardian. The District Magistrate shall issue the certificate after following the procedure prescribed under this Act.
The certificate shall be a proof of recognition of a person’s identity as transgender. The gender of such persons shall be recorded as per the certificate’s contents in all their official documents.
If a transgender person undergoes surgery to change gender, they may make an application, along with a certificate issued by the Medical Superintendent, or Chief Medical Officer of the medical institution where the person underwent surgery, to the District Magistrate for a revised certificate of identity. The revised certificate shall not affect the rights and entitlements of that person under this Act.
The person holding a certificate of identity shall be entitled to change their first name in the birth certificate and all other official documents.
What does the Act state about welfare measures by the government?
The Act states that the ‘appropriate Government’ (central or state) shall take steps “…to secure [the] full and effective participation of transgender persons and their inclusion in society.” The government shall formulate measures to protect the rights and interests of transgender persons and facilitate their access to welfare schemes. It shall implement programmes that are ‘transgender sensitive’ and non-discriminatory; take steps for the rescue, protection and rehabilitation of transgender persons; and take measures to promote and protect the right of transgender persons to participate in cultural and recreational activities.
What does the Act say about the education, social security and health of transgender persons?
The Act states that every educational institution funded or recognised by the ‘appropriate Government’ shall provide inclusive education and opportunities for sports, recreation and leisure activities to transgender persons, without any discrimination. Governments shall formulate welfare schemes to support transgender persons in earning a livelihood.
Central and state governments shall set up separate ‘human immunodeficiency virus Sero-surveillance Centres’ for transgender persons; provide medical care facilities, including sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy; provide counselling before and after such medical procedures; review medical curriculum and research for doctors to address the specific health issues of transgender persons; facilitate their access to hospitals and other healthcare institutions; and cover their medical expenses through a comprehensive insurance scheme for ‘sex reassignment surgery’, hormonal therapy, laser therapy or any other health issues.
What are punishable offences under this Act?
Punishable offences under the act are: if anyone compels or entices a transgender person to take part in forced or bonded labour, other than any compulsory service imposed by the government; denies a transgender person the right of passage to a public place, or obstructs such access; forces or causes a transgender person to leave a household, village or other place of residence; or harms or endangers the life, safety, health or well-being – whether mental or physical – of a transgender person, or engages in physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse against them.
In all such instances, the person or persons shall be punishable with a fine, and imprisonment of at least six months and up to two years.
Focus and Factoids by Riya Behl.
Ministry of Law and Justice
Government of India, New Delhi
05 Dec, 2019