CLPR | Trans Law Quarterly | Issue I

 

 


 

 

The fact is there is always a lot going on. And there are limits to us – how much we can keep, what we can make meaning out of, and what we can bear. Yet to push, to shove, to persevere is the beginning of politics, to collectively imagine from the place of our limits. Marginalised communities move what they know to make the world they desire. Advocacy needs knowledge, organising requires strategies and plans, and resistance requires learning. It is with the humble feeling that we don’t open all our emails, we bookmark tabs after tabs, and we skim through WhatsApp groups and sometimes don’t visit for days but we need the information, the drama of our debates, the sharing of our adventures and disasters to do what we need to do; that the Centre for Law and Policy Research, Bengaluru put together this small initiative to bring you all the news from the last three months.

 

This is just a place where we are collecting everything we have been doing and engaging within all matters trans. The newsletter carries an update about what has been happening in the last three months – both at CLPR and in other places. This edition follows us through the longest months of our recent history, March to May 2020. We have had the lockdown and the way it left the community abandoned, the further humiliation of the announcement of the rules to the Trans Act in these times, deaths and so much more.

 

Putting this newsletter together became a practice of accounting how we gather together, of holding to our greatest capacity as we shrink in the onslaught of terrible abandonment and destruction. We hope that whenever you find the time to peruse through this, it will remind you that we are in this together.

 

With the sweetest love and the softest prayer,

 

CLPR.

 

Legislative Developments – India

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment released the draft
‘The Transgender Persons
(Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020’

On April 18, 2020, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment released the draft “The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules,2020 with only 12 days to discuss and comment on the same. The time-frame for the comments was low and the news was not disseminated, especially since it was released during a lock-down when most of the transgender community was involved in relief work. The comments on the aforementioned Draft Rules were invited on April 18th and the last date to submit the comment was April 30th, 2020. This is a clear violation of the 30-day deadline to be provided under the consultation process according to the Pre-Legislative Consultative Policy, 2014 (PLCP). The PLCP requires this 30-day period even for subordinate legislation and Rules. CLPR along with many others wrote a letter to extend the time limit to be in lie with PLCP, and eventually, the deadline was extended to May 18, 2020; complying with the time limit set in the PLCP. Several organisations, including CLPR, conducted a consultative meeting with stakeholders to discuss and compile the comments for the draft Rules and the same have been sent to the Ministry to be considered. 

Central Government declares it mandatory to include a “Transgender” category in all application forms or documents pertaining to Central Government jobs. Consequently, the Civil Services Examination Rules of 2020 have been modified to provide the option of “transgender” in the gender category of the application. The order was issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in accordance with the 2019 Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act. 

Central Government declares it mandatory to include a “Transgender” category in all application forms or documents pertaining to Central Government jobs.

Judgments, Court Orders and Litigation

6 Years of NALSA
This April 15th, we celebrated six years of NALSA vs Union of India, the landmark judgment that not only recognized the rights of trans persons but also held the state to account for their marginality and responsible for their upliftment. Since then many High Courts have used the judgment to significantly advance trans rights and give them concrete shapes – from legitimizing their identities, kinship and unions to enabling access to education, housing and employment. Under the sudden lockdown to control Covid-19, many trans persons found themselves without adequate food, sources of income and safe housing. Many petitions went to Courts asking for relief for the specific vulnerabilities trans persons found themselves in. At CLPR, we commemorated NALSA with the poster you find below but it was really in the reiteration of the fundamental tenets of NALSA in the relief trans persons were legally guaranteed by the courts in these times, that lies its greatest celebration. We really have come a long way in a short while.

COVID Litigation

With the lockdown in place, access to livelihood, healthcare and housing has become difficult for the transgender community. Several public interest litigations have been initiated in order to ensure the welfare of the transgender community. Some of these are as follows:
  • Ondede filed an Interim Application before Karnataka High Court seeking relief for transgender persons. The Karnataka High Court passed orders dated 09.04.2020 stating that two month’s pensions would be paid to the transgender community under the Mythri scheme in light of the COVID situation. The order also extended the benefits under the Mythri Scheme to all the eligible members of the transgender community.
  • In a petition filed by Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, the Telangana High Court for protecting transgender persons during the COVID-19 lockdown passed an order dated 27.04.2020 directing the State Government to submit a report with regard to the number of transgenders living in the major cities of the State, the concrete steps being taken by the State Government for ensuring that the members of the transgender community have ready availability of food grains, consumable items, and medicines as per their need and requirements, and the number of NGOs with which the Government is coordinating in order to ensure that all the essential commodities do reach the transgender community through these NGOs. The State Government was further directed to ensure that these commodities are given to the members of the transgender community free of cost and without insisting on the production of ration card/white card etc.  
  • The Patna High Court passed an order dated 20.05.2020. The High Court stated that all policies framed and instructions issued by the Government, be it Central or State, shall be implemented in letter and spirit and no member of the transgender community shall be deprived of his Ration only on account of such status or not possessing the Ration Card.
  • The Jharkhand High Court directed the State Government to ensure basic necessities to transgenders during the lockdown. Through its order dated 17.04.2020, the Court has ordered the Petitioner to provide a list of bonafide transgender people to the State of Jharkhand so as to provide immediate relief in the context for providing a meal to them.
  • A Petition has been filed in Kerala High Court seeking relief for transgender persons including providing rations without ration cards, access to health care and cash benefits during the period of the COVID pandemic.
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News

Due to the intense stress of the lockdown – the lack of avenues for income and the lack of access to medicine, including life-saving ART – we lost a member of the trans community, Ganga Prajapati from Malwani, Mumbai to suicide. In her note, she wrote how difficult it was to make ends meet without income and how tired she felt. There was much outpouring of similar frustrations by other trans persons in the wake of her passing away.

International Legal developments

Hungary Passed Law Banning Change in Gender
Hungary passed Omnibus Bill No. T/09934 which bans recognition of gender identity for transgender & intersex persons. Article 33 of this Bill changes the “sex” category in all public registrations such as birth, death and marriage, to read “sex at birth” making it impossible for transgender/intersex persons to change their gender identity. Hungary has a long history of hostility towards LGBTQI+ rights. 

Latin American Countries Impose Gendered Lockdown Putting Transgender Lives at Risk
Panama, Colombia & Peru have implemented a gender separation policy that allows men and women to go out on different days during the Covid-19 Lockdown.  This has left transgender and gender non-conforming people in the lurch, with multiple reports of them being sexually harassed, abused and beaten by police authorities for their perceived gender. This has severely affected their access to food and medical facilities. Though Peru and Colombia have ended the segregation, it continues in Panama at the time of writing this piece.

Puerto Rico Amendment to Civil Code
Puerto Rico has passed the controversial P.C 1654, an amendment to its Commonwealth Civil Code that prejudices the right recognition of gender identity. Article 694 of this amendment prohibits a change in the “sex” of a person on their birth certificate. In the case of Court-ordered modifications to this sex, the birth certificate will then carry a distinctive dot/mark next to the sex of the person, distinguishing them as transgender, violating their right to privacy and exposing them to abuse.

   

UN Calls for Protection of LGBTQ+ Persons During Covid-19
On the International Day Against Homophobia, the UN called for an end to violence against LGBTQI+ people. UN Secretary General António Guterres urged countries to protect and support LGBTQ+ people across the globe during the Covid-19 pandemic. He pointed out that the already vulnerable community is now subject to compounded stigma, violence and obstacles to healthcare access requiring special protections to ensure their safety.

Town in Northern France Elects First Transgender Mayor
The town of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes elected 55-year-old Marie Cau as their Mayor, making her the first transgender mayor in France. She ran on a platform of ecological sustainability and revitalization of the local economy.

We want to provide you with a great experience regarding the news which is why we want to hear from you. Your feedback helps us curate better content for you. If there is anything you would like to see in the newsletter or change feel free to write to the Editorial Team.


Editorial team: Almas, Aj, VikramadityaKruthika and Jayna.

CLPR’s South Asia TransLaw Database brings together law and policy resources in the field of transgender rights in South Asia. This newsletter is part of that initiative to keep up with the fast-evolving laws, activism and practices related to the transgender rights movement.


 

 

 

Jayna Kothari

Executive Director

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Kruthika R

Research Associate

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Almas Shaikh

Research Associate

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Aj Agrawal

Research Associate

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Vikramaditya Sahai

Associate

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