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Saturday 7 October 2017

Definition of transgender may be change in India, might upcoming policy for Transgender soon!

Nirvair Kaur

NEW DELHI: The Center is likely to tweak the definition of transgender persons to shift the focus from "biological test" to the individual's exclusive freedom to choose their gender.

It is learnt that the Union social justice ministry has agreed to drop the opening clause of the definition in 'the transgender persons (protection of rights) bill' that concentrates on the biological features of an individual. It would now revolve around the individual's right to self-identify.

The parliamentary standing committee on social justice, which vetted the bill, had found Clause 2 (i) "primitive and unscientific", and said it steered the definition away from the Supreme Court's NALSA judgment, which paved the way for a legislation on the empowerment of transgender persons.

Defining a transgender, the government bill pending in Parliament explains, "neither wholly female nor wholly male; a combination of female or male; neither female nor male", and "whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to the person at the time of birth".

It makes mixed features of two genders, or the absence of the two kinds of features, mandatory for a person to be identified as transgender.

According to sources, the ministry has agreed with the strong argument of the parliamentary panel that a transgender not be defined through biological features, and have the right to choose their gender.

n its report, the panel recommended the definition thus: "A person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned... at birth, and includes trans-men and trans-women (whether or not they have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy etc.), gender-queers, and a number of sociocultural identities such as kinnars..."

The committee found that the bill stressed on a two-fold criterion for identifying transgenders by first focusing on a "biological test" and then a "psychological test", contrary to the SC's directive focusing on the latter. The SC, noted the panel, advocated that "the thinking of that person has to be given primacy over the binary notion of gender of that person", thus rejecting the "biological test".

Saying the bill misconstrued trans identities, the committee noted, "Even a transgender person who identifies as a woman would be seen under this bill as a combination of male or female, or as neither, and the law would thus completely fail to recognize her self-perceived identity as female".

Also, in case of a transgender undergoing "sex reassignment surgery", the ministry may waive the need to re-appear before the district screening committee to get a certificate.

Pic for represent purpose only

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