A new set of rules are drafted by the government to execute the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019. The new rules suggest that transgender people can undergo free genital reconstruction surgeries at a state-run hospital and will also be provided with accommodation and education by the government.
The rules which are expected to be notified soon would make it compulsory for at least one government hospital in every state to perform free of cost gender reassignment surgeries (GRS) or sex reassignment surgeries (SRS).
GRS or SRS is a surgical procedure (or procedures) by which a transgender person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual attributes are altered to give them their aspired body. These surgeries are part of a treatment for gender dysphoria in transgender people.
These surgeries are extravagantly priced and so are unaffordable for many. In the absence of law, not many government hospitals offered the option.
The new rules are also concerned with various health, education, basic livelihood issues associated with the transgenders’ life in India.
Facilities that are expected to be included in the new draft:
Along with the free genital reconstruction surgeries, state hospitals are expected to provide counseling and hormone replacement therapy, and state medical insurance to cover the expenses of the procedure.
Transgender people will be given access to health, which means states have to provide them separate wards, medical insurance/Aarogyasri cards, counseling, and assistance for other health issues.
They will be given access to education, which means transgender people, nonconforming and intersex children will be provided with accommodation and schooling in government schools and universities. They will also be provided with scholarships and protection against ragging at educational institutions.
They will be provided with universal coverage of life insurance.
They will be given unambiguous inclusion in employment guarantee schemes like MGNREGA and all social security schemes. Creation into self-help groups for livelihood activities. They will be provided with zero-interest and other micro-finance schemes.
They will be provided with affordable housing, shelters, and community centers that provide food and counseling for menaced community youth.
Transgender people will be provided with universal access to food security schemes and ration cards.
The new set of rules is also expected to guarantee the transgender community with the pension for the aged, disabled or vulnerable people; old age and retirement homes for people facing housing elimination; and reservations at public transport to shun any kind of harassment.
About the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 :
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 is formed to protect the rights of transgender persons, their welfare, and other related matters. The act was brought into effect from 10 January 2020.
Following this, on 18 April, the BJP government released the draft rules for the same Act and set 30 April as the deadline for the submission of remarks. The deadline was later extended to 18 May due to the mounting public pressure.
The timing for the public consultation process rightly came under serious criticism from the transgender community amid the pandemic. A group of community activists wrote to the ministry claiming that due to the lockdown they were unable to go out and interact with the community members and needed some more time.
However, a senior ministry official said several suggestions were received, many of which have been incorporated in the final rules.
Though the government claims they received sufficient remarks for the drafted rules but the community still seems unsatisfied. The same was the case when the bill was proposed in parliament for the first time. There is some relief but still many stoned are left unturned. The battle has been gruesome but the fight is still is on and there is still a long way to go.
Source- The Print