Organisations Protest Against Transgender Protection Bill For Treating Rape Against Trans-Women As "Petty Crime"
The Lok Sabha in the recently held Parliament session passed the Transgender Persons Protection of Rights bill, 2019. The bill if becomes an act will be applicable for India’s estimated five million transgenders in India.
The bill has attracted flak from the transgender community for keeping the punishment in case of sexual violence against trans-women from six months to two years whereas in the rape case of non-transgender women the punishment varies from 10 years to a maximum of Life imprisonment.
One of the main clauses in the bill states “Whoever harms or injures or endangers the life, safety, health or well-being, whether mental or physical, of a transgender person or tends to do acts including causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to two years and with fine.”
On 15th of August, five transgender women called out on the parliament for its hypocrisy on so-called Transgender Persons “Protection of Rights” bill on transgenderIndia.com.
Neysara, the founder of transgenderIndia.com, said the bill treats transgenders as sub-human and questioned the gender-based gradation of punishment.
“It is unclear what Transgender Persons Protection of Rights bill is trying to imply by diluting penalties for offences against transgender people. Endangering the life, safety, health or well-being of a person is gender-neutral. Indian society treats transgender people as anyway & this bill mirrors this sentiment. Our parliamentarians are a part of our society and hence this is their way of constitutionally declaring transgender people as sub-human,” said Neysara.
A social media campaign was also initiated on Facebook as. “72 years since Independence, Still Indian Parliamentarians believe Raping a transgender person is a petty crime punishable by 6 months to max 2 years.”
The campaign received support from across the globe under the #RapeisRape. Before the transgender bill, there was nothing explicit about the rape of a trans woman, the Indian Penal Code only talks about rape against a woman.