On Sunday, LGBTQ people flooded the streets of India’s capital city as part of the annual Delhi Queer Parade. Many marched in protest of a proposed law in Parliament that would restrict the rights of trans people.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill was passed in India’s lower house of Parliament in August. Despite the bill’s name, activists say it will actually undermine trans people’s autonomy.
A statement put forth by Sunday's Pride march organizers said the bill “directly discriminates against the community and strips them of dignity,” according to the Associated Press.
Language in the bill suggests that trans people may be required to have surgery before being able to change their legal gender, reports Human Rights Watch (HRW).
A trans person would have to apply for both a “transgender certificate” and a “change in gender certificate” — the latter of which, HRW says, seems to require documented gender-affirming surgery.
Many LGBTQ people in India note that the country’s Supreme Court recognized trans people’s right to self-identify in 2014, and that this bill appears to contradict that ruling.
"The 2014 [Supreme Court] judgment had given the trans community the right to identification, but the bill takes that [away],” one person who marched on Sunday told Sputnik News.
The bill also carries a penalty of six months to two years behind bars for the rape of a trans woman. The punishment for raping a cis woman in India, meanwhile, is life in prison, writes Prachi Singh for the Down to Earth blog.
It is also not broad enough, reports Out: "Verbiage within the bill doesn’t guarantee protections from discrimination in terms of gender identity, which could eventually lead to unequal access to both educational and employment spaces.
On Friday, those against the bill raised awareness on Twitter with the hashtag #StopTransBill2019.
“The trans community believes that the current bill being discussed … makes a mockery of their personhood, community, rights and only adds to everyday humiliation and violation,” tweeted one user.
It is unclear at this point when the upper house will vote on the bill.