Representational image
Representational image

Gender discourse in the country has seen a paradigm shift in the way we view roles, discrimination, equality etc. One cannot ignore the injustices faced by one of the most vulnerable communities in society: Transgenders. Mumbai First & K.C. Law College collaborated on a new initiative to bring about the right awareness on contemporary issues and challenges of transgenders and their legal and social rights.

As per the latest legislation, Courts have recognized transgenders as a distinct community and this has also necessitated the government to provide them with safeguards and the right to identify themselves as transgenders. However, a lot more needs to be done towards their empowerment. The right kind of legal awareness will benefit the transgender community and ensure their welfare and empowerment.

Mumbai First & K.C Law College organized a Panel discussion on “Transgender Rights: Contemporary Issues and challenges”. Mumbai First & K.C. Law College had taken the lead to invite some prominent judges, lawyers, urban thinkers and citizens to contribute to this discussion

The broad themes of discussion were as follows:

• Key Highlights of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019

• Legal recognition of transgender after NALSA Judgement

• Transgender Inclusion in the society; reducing transphobia

• Sensitization and Public awareness.

There were several points which were raised during the panel discussion but most of them circled back to one key point: Sensitizing the public. Even after all the rules and laws which are getting established it is the general public which has to accept the transgender community in the larger public discourse. As one of the panelists mentioned, before being Male or Female, everyone is a human first thus should be given an opportunity to live a dignified life.

Action Points

1. Restarting the discussion on further drafts of the Transgender Rights Rules and trying to involve members from the community and include their feedback.

2. Reinforcing the importance of being included in the National AIDS Control Organisation of the Health Ministry and improving the statistics of HIV AIDS infection in Gay and Transgender community.

3. Holding more conversations and virtual sessions with Humsafar Trust, KC Law College and include someone from the Department of Social Justice and Transgender Welfare Board to get an insight of the challenges faced by the government in implementing or constructing the policies for this community.

4. Spreading this system of Lok Adalat and trying to get more panelists in the bench of the Adalat from the transgender community. This Adalat can also hold informative sessions with other members of the community to spread awareness of the legal rights available now.

5. Since the members of the community themselves are apprehensive about available employment opportunities, we should investigate as to how we can bring about a change in mind-sets of employers, making jobs more accessible and setting up inclusive workplaces.

6. Schools and Colleges have online classes now so we can speak to the principals and include sessions on related themes. It will be easier to reach a large amount of the adolescent population this way and will help to structure their thought process on this topic in a constructive way.

7. Tie up with corporates and hold virtual sessions with their employees in batches to start a conversation about what they think about this issue. This will help us to get ground level feedback and understand what the points of contention in the common understanding are.

8. 2011 census study was not a comprehensive one especially for the transgender community. There should be a more detailed study in the upcoming census and every state should have a more refined enumeration process.

9. A proper plan for coordinating NGOs with both State and Central Government should be made with respect to promoting inclusiveness in providing services such as healthcare. education, legal aid, policing and livelihood.

10. Colleges must welcome, encourage and create a friendly environment for transgenders to pursue education.

11. A dialogue with the Education Ministry needs to be started to develop and implement a curriculum on gender and sexuality.

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