Gender

The Gender Beat: Parliament Panel Seeks Public Suggestions on Transgender Bill; Australian Opposition Blocks Same-Sex Marriage

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality.

A transgender attends a rally in Mumbai. Credit: Reuters

A transgender attends a rally in Mumbai. Credit: Reuters

Parliamentary panel invites suggestions from public on Transgender Bill

With an aim to involve the community in the making of the law, the parliamentary panel examining the Transgender Bill has invited suggestions from the public, PTI reports.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, which seeks to define the term transgender and prohibit discrimination against the community, was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the monsoon session.

The Bill was referred to Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment for examination amid criticism from a section of the transgender community.

According to a Lok Sabha statement, “Considering the wider implications of the proposed legislation for protection of the rights of transgender persons and for an in-depth study of the proposals in the Bill, the standing committee decided to invite suggestions… from the public in general and from NGOs … stakeholders and Institutions in particular.”

The Bill gives transgender persons the right to be recognised as such and also grants them the right to “self-perceived” gender identity.

The transgender community in India is among the most marginalised in the country because they don’t fit into the categories of the two recognised genders of men and women.

US ranks lower than Kazakhstan and Algeria on gender equality, study reveals

A study to mark International Day of the Girl, which falls on October 11, ranked the US below Kazakhstan and Algeria on gender equality.

A recent story in The Guardian said that according to the report by Save the Children, that showed the countries that offer the most opportunities for girls, the US ranked 32nd due to its teenage pregnancy rates and and its record maternal deaths.

Low ranking of the US is on account of its teenage pregnancy rates and and its record maternal deaths. Credit: Reuters/Alvin Baez.

Lisa Wise, the head of inclusive development of Save the Children told The Guardian that the issue of gender equality wasn’t unique to developing countries. “Girls in relation to boys are denied their opportunities in high-income countries too,” she said.

According to the study, some low-income countries, like Rwanda, however, defied trends and performed relatively well. The country boasts of the highest proportion of female MPs in the world at 68% and ranked 49th in the Girls’ Opportunity Index, ahead of its neighbours Burundi and Tanzania, that stood at 107 and 118.

The study, however, also says that 66% of children surveyed in Rwanda feel that a woman’s most vital role was to take care of her home and cook for her family. 74% of those surveyed in India agreed.

Leftist party in El Salvador proposes decriminalising abortion in cases of rape, risky pregnancy

In what came as a ray of hope to abortion proponents in El Salvador, the nation’s ruling leftist party on Tuesday presented a proposal to Congress to allow abortion in cases of rape or risky pregnancy, Reuters reports.

Abortion is currently completely banned in the nation.

In this 2012 file photo, a woman sits in a float with "Yes abortion legal" written on her back during a protest in San Salvador. Credit:Reuters/Ulises Rodriguez

In this 2012 file photo, a woman sits in a float with “Yes abortion legal” written on her back during a protest in San Salvador. Credit:Reuters/Ulises Rodriguez

The proposal, presented by the Farabundo Martin National Liberation Front, would allow abortion in cases of rape or trafficking, when the woman’s life is in danger, or when the fetus is so deformed that it makes life unviable.

The impoverished Central American country is known for its strict anti-abortion rules, with women who have abortions facing up to 30 years in prison.

Gay marriage unlikely for years in Australia after parliament rejects public vote

Same-sex marriage is likely to be delayed for at least three more years in Australia after the country’s opposition Labour party said on Tuesday that it would not support a national vote.

The rejection is a blow to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who has seen his popularity wane amid frustration that he has failed to live up to his progressive reputation, wrote Colin Packham in a Reuters report.

A gay rights activist holds a placard during a rally supporting same-sex marriage, in Sydney, Australia May 31, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray

A gay rights activist holds a placard during a rally supporting same-sex marriage, in Sydney, Australia May 31, 2015. Credit:Reuters/David Gray

According to analysts, waning political support could become a threat to his position in a country that has seen five prime ministers in nine years.

Over 60% of Australians support same-sex marriage, according to a Gallop poll in August.

Australia’s centre-right coalition government introduced legislation in parliament last month to hold a public vote in February 2017 on whether to legalise same-sex unions.

The Bill required the support of some opposition lawmakers because Turnbull’s Liberal-National coalition has only a one-vote majority in the lower house and does not have a majority in the upper house.

The rejection by the centre-left Labour party ended any hope the Bill could pass.

“Why should gay Australians be subjected to a different law-making process than any other Australians?” said Labour leader Bill Shorten, Reuters reports. “Why should a couple in a committed relationship have to knock on the doors of 15 million of their fellow Australians and see if they agree with it? The easiest way is the way which this parliament has done for a hundred years – legislate.”

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