CAA: Transgenders, Queers ask how will we prove lineage

Protestors from transgenders, women and queer communities take part in a protest rally against the amended Citizenship Act, NRC and NPR, in Kolkata. (PTI Photo)

Cries of 'Halla Bol', 'Inquilab Zindabad', and 'Azaadi' rent the air as members of the queer and transgender communities joined the chorus against the amended citizenship law and took out a protest march, saying they will find it difficult to prove their lineage as they are often disowned by their families and live with new identities.

Housewives also joined them in their march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar as they voiced their dissent against the law, which has seen countrywide protests, some of which turned violent.

Bittu, who represents the Trans Rights Now Collective, said many trans people are not connected with their families and have different names and even gender identities from the one mentioned in their birth certificates.

"Almost 2000 transgenders were excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) during the exercise in Assam. We understand what discrimination is. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens are discriminatory in nature and we oppose them," Bittu said.

Queer rights activist Rituparna Borah said the new law is "fascist" and is against the community.

"Many trans people do not have documents in the names they have chosen for themselves. How will they prove that 'I am the same person'? Many LGBTQ children are thrown out of the house because of their identity. How will they prove their lineage?" Borah said.

"We challenge biological families and we choose our own families. Why are you pushing us towards our biological families who are oppressive towards women and the queer community," she questioned.

Holding the hands of their young children, four-to-eight-year olds, mothers also participated in the march that was organised by 45 civil society bodies on the occasion of Savitribai Phule's birth anniversary.

"Voices are being raised against the divisive agenda of the government," said Uttara, who had come with her four-year-old daughter Ifrit.

"I have brought my daughter along so that she knows what we are protesting for. We are protesting here to safeguard the future of our children," she said.

Uttara was among the over 600 people who took to the streets in Lutyens' Delhi on Friday.

"I am here to raise slogans," said eight-year-old Airish, who was accompanied by his mother Ashok Kumari.

Kumari said he has seen all the events and protests unfold on news channels.

"He (Airish) was curious to know why is it all happening. I brought him to the protest so that he knows that there are also transgenders and queers, and how they need to be respected. I wanted him to learn gender equality," she said.

Shanti Devi, a labourer, who had come from Malviya Nagar, said, "Instead of bringing such laws, the government should focus on tackling issues such as poverty, and ensure people like us are fed properly."

Chiramita Kumari, a housewife from Malviya Nagar, said the government should not spend taxpayers' money on building detention centres but on education, housing and poverty alleviation.

The march culminated at the Jantar Mantar with a public meeting.

Women's rights activist Shabnam Hashmi said it is the first time that women have stepped out and that too not for women's issues but for saving the Constitution.

"We reject the CAA, NRC and NPR and will continue the fight in the next four years and vote the government out of power in the next election," she said.

Similar marches were also carried out in 10 other cities across the country. 

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