Delhi marched against Trans Bill 2019 on Pride Day

Delhi marched against Trans Bill 2019 on Pride Day

The Bill which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on November 20th has raked up immense backlash from the transgender community and activists

Delhi Pride Parade (AFP photo)

Thousands flocked the streets of Delhi on Sunday for the city's annual Pride March that takes place on the last Sunday of every November since 2008. 

Known for raising banners and slogans on important ongoing issues, this year's Delhi Pride from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar maintained their tradition. Banners spotted included those condemning the situation in Kashmir, the fee hike in Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019. 

The Bill which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on November 20 has raked up immense backlash from the transgender community and activists who claim it is going to subject transgender lives to more damage than good.

Some of the attendees of the parade spoke about why they think the bill is unjust.

Ray R, a transwoman studying law at Delhi University, said, "The Trans Bill is violative of our fundamental rights to movement, residence, equality and so on. It essentially says we are less equal citizens, definitely not important enough, by putting only six months to two years for abusing us, while it is seven years minimum for abusing women...This bill puts in a two-step process for recognising us as men or women, and mandates surgery and certificate of District Magistrate and Chief Medical officer, while also saying the District Magistrate needs to be 'satisfied'. This is the screening committee in its new form, surveillance of the worst form and capable of violence on trans people that no one else has to go through apart from at birth".

Meera, who also identifies as a transwoman, said, "The NALSA v. Union of India judgment was passed in 2014 and was a landmark judgment that gave us identification rights, but this bill doesn't give that. It takes that away from us. A District Magistrate will give us a certificate that will say 'transgender'. I will not get legal recognition because I haven't gone through surgery...When it comes to bureaucratic authorities, they are dominated by cis men. This is pretty problematic. We are meant to feel uncomfortable. This bill also mentions that you need to be with your biological family or go to a rehabilitation centre. It doesn't take into consideration that with most of the trans people, it is the biological family that inflicts more oppression. The concept of a support system is very important but is nullified by the Bill."

Rukmini, a student attending the parade, said, "When we talk about Pride, or about any queer liberation movement, we cannot not talk about the many Trans and non-binary activists that spearheaded the queer cause. The Trans Bill that got cruelly tabled at the Rajya Sabha on the 20th International Trans Remembrance Day is an inhumane bill that snatches away the right of individuals to self-determination. Is any cis individual required to prove their gender for it to be considered valid? The Queer community condemns this bill, and we extend our solidarity to every Trans activist living their most flamboyant lives despite every single impediment the state has thrown and continues to throw at them."

The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 5, 2019, and awaits its fate at the Rajya Sabha.