A senior Delhi government official said some of the welfare schemes for transgenders under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 were on hold as the rules were yet to be finalised.
Transgenders face social discrimination and are treated with a mix of annoyance, derision and contempt. These thoughtful draft proposals will hopefully address several of their needs and concerns. One hopes they become the law.
Once the draft is implemented, a transgender person can obtain a certificate of identity from the administration offices in zones, the official said. It would also have stricter provisions for discrimination against such persons in education, employment and healthcare, he added.
There is also a provision for jail for some offences, like compelling a transgender person to beg and denial of access to a public place. Other key features of the rules include separate HIV surveillance centres, a comprehensive insurance scheme, and inclusivity and opportunities for sports in educational institutions.
The Act, approved by Parliament in 2019, criminalises discrimination against a transgender person and mandates equal access to public spaces.
In February 2021, the Delhi government instructed all its departments, offices, district authorities, municipal corporations and Delhi Police to have separate and exclusive washrooms for transgender people. The order had also emphasised that people from the community should continue to be allowed to use gender-based toilets as per their self-identified gender. The agencies were given two years to build these exclusive toilets.
Earlier, in 2014, the Supreme Court had accorded ‘third gender’ status to transgender persons and directed the creation of separate toilets for them in public places, including hospitals.
Dr Aqsa Shaikh, associate professor of the community medicine department at Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Jamia Hamdard, said, “We have been demanding since a long time that the draft be made public and the rules finalised. There have been some token changes on the ground but to create a big difference, it is important that the rules are formed.”