LGBT Rights – Transgender Bill, Sec. 377, etc.

Gender self-identification and related issues


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Gender sensitization efforts

The Spanish government has approved the first draft of a bill that would allow anyone over the age of 14 to legally change gender without a medical diagnosis or hormone therapy.

What is gender self-identification?

  • Self-identification, or ‘self-id’, is the concept that a person should be allowed to legally identify with the gender of their choice by simply declaring so, and without facing any medical tests.
  • This has been a long-held demand of trans-right groups around the world, including in India, as prejudice against trans people remains rampant.

European scenario

  • In Europe, this issue has remained divisive not only on liberal-conservative lines but also within the LGBT community.
  • The current processes for declaring one’s desired gender are lengthy, expensive and degrading.

Related issues

  • Some feminist and gay-rights groups insist that such a law could endanger women and cause more gay teenagers to be told that they might be trans and thus encouraged towards hormones and surgery.
  • Feminist forums believe that sex is not something that can be chosen.
  • They insist that allowing self-identification could put at risk all laws that specifically prevent discrimination against women.
  • They have instead asked lawmakers to look at concerns that they say are more pressing, such as the gender pay gap.

What is the process for declaring one’s desired sex in India?

  • In India, the rights of transgender persons are governed by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020.
  • Under the Rules, an application to declare gender is to be made to the District Magistrate.
  • Parents can also make an application on behalf of their child.
  • A much-criticized previous draft of regulations required transgender persons to go through a medical examination for declaring their desired sex.
  • This requirement was omitted in the Final Rules.
  • As per the Rules, state governments have also been directed to constitute welfare boards for transgender persons to protect their rights and interests, and facilitate access to schemes and welfare measures framed by the Centre.

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