Talking about the inclusion of information on the prevention of human trafficking in school textbooks, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, on Thursday, called transgenders "The Other Ones".
This is the clip where the minister tries to define transgender.
But this isn't the worst part. The video shows MPs in the background laughing and smiling at this distasteful comment.
Gandhi doesn't address this, doesn't realize she said something derogatory, and then continues with her speech.
The minister was talking about sex-workers who, she said, will benefit from the Anti-Trafficking Bill.
Her comment didn't go unnoticed.
Meera Sanghamitra, a trans-woman and human rights activist, called Gandhi out on Twitter for the comment.
. @Manekagandhibjp We are #NotOtherOnes or your pets. We are equally human, equal citizens. APOLOGIZE to the entire transgender community NOW, for your extremely derogatory, insenstive reference and gesture. This does not behove a Cabinet Minister! Appalled, Anguished, Ashamed ! pic.twitter.com/v9uPwm8VEj
— Meera Sanghamitra (@meeracomposes) July 27, 2018
Meera told News18.com in an interview that the transgender community was outraged at the comment.
"What is 'Other Ones?' She said it like we were germs." Meera says. "What does it imply when The Minister for Women and Child Development speak about us in this derogatory way? That too, in the Parliament? And other MPs found it funny!"
Nobody in the Parliament batted an eye when she made the comment of "other ones." But when Maneka Gandhi made a comment about sex workers, Sumitra Mahajan, the speaker, intervened.
The comment was seen as a joke and so far, Maneka Gandhi hasn't even as addressed it, much less apologized.
Meera also said that when the transgender bill was drafted, it was based on NALSA judgment, one of the major key aspects of which was directing Governments to make laws based on the clause of non-discrimination.
"Calling people 'Other Ones' is not simply derogatory, it is the equivalent of a slur. It's not very different from the different names people use for Adivasis or Dalits," she said.
Here's a question for the people who are going to be active participants in drafting the bill: Does other-ing people and dehumanizing them work very well?
Education is definitely needed on how to address trans people, and it should be taught with sensitivity. But it shouldn't only be taught to children, but also politicians.