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

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.