Challenge to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019

Rachana Mudraboyina and Ors vs Union of India and Ors | Supreme Court of India | Status: Pending | |

The sole purpose of a social welfare legislation should be to protect the rights of the marginalised. In instances where discourse by the marginalised is not allowed, purely because of a very real threat to their lives and systemic obstructions in place to not just dissuade, but to disallow members from the community from occupying and participating in political spaces, it is incumbent then on the state to actively engage with such communities to create such a discourse. 

History has, time and again, betrayed the transgender community. Erased our stories, stories of the state, majoritarian forces killing, raping and stripping us naked. Our identities and bodies mutilated to such an extent, that the word violation would be short changing the narrative. The unfairness with which history has dealt its hand would only be corrected through an active effort of the state, to recreate a discourse, the primary requirement being consultations with the community.

2014 was a watershed moment in the recognition of the community’s identities. Creation of a draft of rights and a clear dismantling of the historical structures built to purely oppress and invisibilise identities, rights and as an extension, persons from entire societies. The NALSA judgement was a vindication of a centuries old movement forcing the state to recognise and uphold gender identities. The Transgender Rights Bill 2014, introduced by a private member Tiruchi Siva, and passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2015 gave a sense of hope that the Supreme Court verdict would be followed by legislative action.

But what followed was a crystal clear retraction of the claims made, and assurances given. A series of bills beginning with the 2016 bill followed by the one in 2018, were but a death knell on the culmination of hopes of the community. We resisted, through every means available. Social media pages of transpersons saw an outpouring of personal struggles. The trans community took over public spaces by pouring out in thousands. A clearer voice opposing the law about to be foisted on the community couldn’t be imagined.