Why #StopTransBill2019 Is Trending On Twitter

Photo credit SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday, at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, a group of trans* (the asterisk ensures that this includes everyone except cis-gender persons) and queer people and their allies assembled to register protests against getting the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha.

And it’s during the protest it was decided that we’re going to take on Twitter and leverage the power of social media to raise our voices against the fascist regime—that’s taking on every marginalized community one by one and is trying to suppress everyone—by using #StopTransBill2019.

Why Everyone Is Against The Bill

Ray, a trans woman, in her extremely articulate speech at Jantar Mantar, described why the Bill is problematic, she said:

  • It’s against the NALSA judgment that honors the rights of trans persons to self-identification of their genders. This Bill has proposed a discriminatory and corrupt mechanism to getting the “certificate of identity” from the District Magistrate, who in turn will pass this to a “Screening Committee” that will provide the applicant with their identify certificate as a transgender person. However, if the person has undergone surgery, then upon the production of the certificate from the medical officer, the person has to apply again and seek identity certificate from the DM again, who upon “satisfaction” may give it or not. Isn’t it ensuring that trans people be put to more discrimination and abused by this structure for generation of an identity certificate?
  • Any violence against trans people will only attract a punishment anywhere between 6 months to 2 years; however, if the same happens to a cis-woman, then there is a “minimum” of 7 years of imprisonment. What do we mean by that? Trans persons’ lives matter less. They are less equal? It’s okay to discriminate against them, abuse them and violate their rights. This is an insensitive punishment clause.
  • The Bill says that the trans person must reside with their birth family. Has the State forgotten that the first sight of violence occurs at home? In a free country, will the State decide where a person must reside or not?

During the event, pamphlets were distributed by Akhil Katyal, Delhi-based poet and writer, and Vikramaditya Sahai also spoke of the “fabulous” and “gorgeous” trans people who will not give up and continue to fight with grace. Trans rights activist Rachanamudra came from Telangana to attend the protest too and spoke about why we need to speak in a “single voice” as people do not realize how the “government is meticulously silencing our voices.”

What’s Happening On Twitter?

Ray tweeted a video and requested people to tag Rajya Sabha MPs to mobilize and create a collective voice on Twitter, along with the hashtag: #StopTransBill2019. Feminism in India, an intersectional feminist website, also posted an eight-tweet thread where it clarified “why we need to #StopTransBill2019.”

Both yesterday and today, this writer included, posted innumerous tweets with this hashtag to create awareness and make this hashtag trend.

Yesterday, this image was posted on Twitter to create the buzz, and it was very successful as Smashboard tweeted an eighteen-tweet thread explaining why this Bill must be stopped from getting passed in the Rajya Sabha, tagging Rajya Sabha MPs.

It doesn’t end here. As soon as anything trends, there’s a troll army ready to discourage you, and most importantly, to disturb your mental peace and distract you from getting the job done, i.e., creating awareness. This online movement was no exception to this “rule of the online jungle”. Within hours, Ray and Vikramaditya Sahai had to brave the heat, and they responded to the misogynistic, patriarchal, abusive tweets very gracefully.

I wonder when we’ll be able to register an online protest minus nonsense. I wonder when people will grow up.

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