Introduce quota for LGBTQI+, bring law to prevent forced reassignment surgery: NHRC Core Group

It has also asked the government to initiate measures for capacity building and skill training programmes for the transgender community
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 14 December 2020, 12:42 IST
Last Updated : 14 December 2020, 12:42 IST
Last Updated : 14 December 2020, 12:42 IST
Last Updated : 14 December 2020, 12:42 IST

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Centre to take steps to sensitise law enforcement agencies about the rights of the LGBTQI+ community, frame "strict and mandatory" laws against forced sex reassignment surgery and include them in the quota regime so that they could get a degree of preferential treatment in jobs and education.

It has also asked the government to initiate measures for capacity building and skill training programmes for the transgender community and create greater employment opportunities for them.

The recommendations were given by NHRC's Core Group on LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex) during a meeting last month, according to the minutes published recently.

The meeting had discussed unequal protection in the matter of sexual offences for LGBTQI+ community, forced gender and sexuality conversion, right to self-perceived gender identity and invisibility of the issues and concerns particular to the intersex community.

The Core Group said the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 must protect the rights of the transgender persons from atrocities from outside and within the community and it should not resort to merely extend the application of the existing penal provisions.

It asked the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to define the atrocities meted out against them with specific and equal punishments as enumerated in Section 3 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The rules framed to implement the Act should give detailed enumeration of the welfare scheme which the transgender persons can avail. There should be strict and mandatory laws against forced sex reassignment surgery and conversion therapy should be formulated.

It also recommended "horizontal reservations within caste, tribe and other categories of reservation" for transgender persons in furtherance of the NALSA judgement.

The quota for SCs, STs and OBCs is called vertical reservation while those for ex-servicemen and disabled among others are called horizontal quota. The percentage of reservation allotted to horizontal reservation categories should be adjusted against percentage of SC, ST, OBC and General categories in vertical reservation.

With the community facing trouble at work as well as getting opportunities, the Core Group emphasised that capacity building and skill training programmes should be conducted for the transgender community and greater employment opportunities should be generated for them. "Attempts needs to be made at workplace to encourage inclusivity and participation of the LGBTQI+ community," it said.

Steps should be taken by the Indian Medical Association to train medical practitioners for medical examination of transgender persons. The medical community should be sensitised about sex, gender, sexuality and self identity.

"An advisory may be issued to all medical students and the Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists to train them about the medical and health issues and requirements of person form this community and to discourage medical intervention attempted due to gender incongruence," the Core Group said.

The Core Group recommended to the government that proper advocacy and sensitization programmes should be organised in Ministries both at the Centre and states, including National and State Human Rights Commissions, to have a better understanding of the issues which this community faces.

It also highlighted the need to popularise directions given in NALSA and Navtej Singh Johar judgements by the Supreme Court to reduce stigma in the society and disseminate information about the rights of the LGBTQI+ community. "The law enforcement agencies need to be sensitized towards people belonging to LGBTQI+ community," it said.

Separate shelter homes and access to food should be ensured for all the estranged individuals from this community. There is also the need to introduce one-stop grievance redressal centres with representation from the LGBTQI+ community on the lines as One Stop Centre for women to address the issue of sexual violence and abuse.

Housing discrimination faced by transgender people and same-sex couples can affect where they live and the resources available to them, the Core Group said adding fair and equal housing rights for LGBTQI community should be provided.

The issues of intersex community should be dealt separately from the Transgender community, it said addding that the Core Group should have representation from the intersex community so that their issue may have equal representation.

Published 14 December 2020, 12:36 IST

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