Skip to main content

Maneka Gandhi's "insensitive" remark invites angry reaction from transgender community, sex workers

The minister making the remark in the Lok Sabha
By Our RepresentativeReproduced below is an angry of transgender a person over Union minister Maneka Gandhi during the debate on the anti-trafficking Bill in the Lok Sabha this week:
***
Can anything/anyone be more dehumanizing?
During the course of the discussion in the Lok Sabha on the Anti-Trafficking Bill passed this week, which unfortunately refused to understand the complex set of differences and dynamics between "adult trafficked persons" (who need to be liberated and rehabilitated with their consent) and "adult sex workers" (whose 'choice' of livelihood within their complex circumstances needs to be understood and respected by also allowing them access to a range of skills and livelihood opportunities to choose from), Maneka Gandhi, Union minister for women and child development, made an extremely reprehensible, derogatory and insensitive reference and gesture towards lakhs of transgender persons in this country HERE  to see the clip).
So, the 'saviour-of-all species' went on to refer to persons of all genders, beyond the male-female binary as 'the other ones', rolled her eyes out not knowing what to call us, gave out this horribly embarrasing laugh and then called us 'TGs'! And this was followed by an equally insensitive laughter by quite a few MPs in the House!
Thankfully, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule, who has for a while been engaging with transwomen in Maharashtra, had a modicum of insaniyat to knock sense into the Minister's head to not refer to us in a denigrating manner as 'Others', but as transgender persons. She also questioned the absolute invisiblization of the complex concerns of transgender persons in the Bill and called upon the Govt. to address the same (click HERE to see).
NCP MP Supriya Sule
Now what is indeed appalling is that a Cabinet Minister has this level of ignorance and arrogance! After so much of uprising by the transgender community in the country, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgment (click HERE) of the Supreme Court, the discussions around the Transgender Bill, the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, the protests, the petitions -- she has the audacity to even refuse to acknowledge our existence as citizens!
Such an utter disgrace for humanity, this woman! For all her love for pets and pigs and pigeons and ponies, she seems to have forgotten to love people enough!
If only like the SC & ST Atrocities Act, 1989, there could be a Transgender Persons (Prevention of Abuses & Atrocities) Act, we could have kickstarted a campaign for this woman to be behind bars and face trial for her atrocious remarks! One still thinks this is a context for such a campaign, impressing upon the need for a law preventing, penalising and punishing abuses and atrocities on transgender persons, which are ubiquitous and multi-fold.
Apparently, the Minister also made some disparaging references to sex workers, and the National Network of Sex Workers in fact issued a statement itself, asking her, "Are we not women, Madam Minister? Do we not have the right to be heard by Ministers, Governments and Members of Parliament? Are we according to you so reprehensible that it is ok to make us the butt of your humour at the cost of dignity? Are we not citizens of India entitled to dignity?”
This time, it was fortunately Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who stepped in to insist that sex workers had a legitimate appointment with the Minister, and that their meeting her was not 'unparliamentary' (when another MP objected to a delegation of sex workers even meeting the Minister)!
After all this mess, the least Maneka Gandhi could have done was to apologize to the entire transgender community, to all sex workers and to the House. Couldn't find any proceedings of her doing so. And don't think she has the humilty and basic human sense to do so either!
---
Source: Human rights activist Meera Sanghamitra's Facebook timeline

Comments

Anonymous said…
And she is educated?

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018)."In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Modi's PRO, who served previous Congress, BJP CMs in Gujarat with "equal" competence

By Rajiv Shah
A public relations officer (PRO), even as maintaining anonymity, is supposed to “manage” reputation of his or her client, reflecting the client’s views in order to influence opinion and behaviour. A PRO is also known to use, the world over, media and communication to build, maintain, manage and plan publicity strategies and campaigns, even as dealing with enquiries from the public, particularly media, organising promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits. A PRO is also supposed to final touches to press statements for his or client.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.