[If you're on mobile, scroll to the bottom to sign the petition.]
“Will you club all cisgender women or cisgender persons within one category? Then why this treatment for us?”
- Sweta, a trans woman and activist from Chennai
In December 2014, a Rajya Sabha MP, Tiruchi Siva, piloted a bill meant to provide for “reservation in employment and education for transgender and intersex persons”. The objective was that transgender and intersex people should have reservations within the existing vertical reservation slabs for marginalised castes.
But the new government policy does not account for the diversity within the trans and intersex community - it does propose reservation, but only within the OBC community.
Many activists fear that trans and intersex people within the Dalit and Adivasi community will not get adequate representation within educational institutions and workplaces. Trans woman Ragini comments, “Dalit and Adivasi transgender people face gender-based violence from within their communities and face caste-based violence outside. Is it fair to club privileged cisgender people and people from dominant castes within the same category as Dalit and Adivasi transgender people?” Therefore, the proposed government policy ignores the history of oppression that marginalised caste and gender groups face.
Systemic oppression has several layers, and any policy proposed must consider that discrimination does not happen solely based on caste and gender identity, but both. This is why the Trans Rights Now Collective is urging the Union Government to incorporate horizontal reservation for trans and intersex persons instead of offering it only within the OBC category.
“We lost so many of our brethren this year, and we lose them every year. To healthcare inaccessibility, education inaccessibility, unemployment. So many of these things would be easier with horizontal reservations. We lose them because of your silence”, says Grace Banu, a trans woman and activist who is spearheading this movement.
So, let us stop being silent. Let’s demand that the Union Government and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment take this intersectionality into account before adopting the new policy by providing horizontal reservation for the trans and intersex communities within each existing reservation slab.
Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor, has already received a memorandum of specific demands from Grace Banu and her team. Let’s keep the momentum going and lead this movement to victory. Sign the petition now!