Looking back in anger

Updated on: Dec 27, 2019

The trans community was officially recognised as the third gender after a 2014 Supreme Court judgment

The 2019 Transgender Persons (Protection and Rights) Bill has trans people up in arms. It was initially conceived of as an Act that would empower the community and ensure their welfare. The Bill, however, triggered widespread protests and once again turned the lens on a 2014 Supreme Court judgment that gave trans people political citizenship.

It was post this judgment that Kamla Bashir, a leader of the kinnar community, could emerge as an independent candidate against Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi in the summer of 2014. The close-knit kinnars sing and dance to make a living. Bashir’s candidacy gave the community hope, and the belief that they could be a part of an inclusive society. She canvassed valiantly, and spoke up on behalf of the community, which had been marginalised from time immemorial.

The kinnar community is now worried about what the new law has in store for them. The Bill, ratified by the President earlier this month, states that trans people have to register with the government if they want to be officially recognised as transgender and need to submit proof of gender confirmation surgery to the government. The community fears that these clauses will help the State machinery exploit them further by making them vulnerable at the hands of government officers. Many believe that the new law goes against trans people’s right to dignity and disregards their personal autonomy.

Paromita Chatterjee is a Kolkata-based freelance photographer

Published on Aug 10, 2022


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