The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, after voting against sending the legislation to a select committee. The bill had already been passed in the Lok Sabha in August.

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot had introduced the bill in the Lower House in July and in the Upper House on November 20. The bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the one assigned at birth and that a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender person, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy. It also prohibits discrimination of such persons, and has provisions for their healthcare and other welfare benefits.

However, members of the transgender community have opposed some provisions of the bill. It requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and district screening committee to get certified as a trans person and a revised certificate may be obtained only if the individual undergoes surgery to change their sex. Critics say the procedure will subject transgender persons to intrusive medical scrutiny.

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