Ramdas Athawale, union minister of social justice and empowerment, on Monday, said that transgender people should wear pants and shirts instead of saris as “they are not men and they are not women”. He did clarify that “they( transgenders) are human”.
The minister was speaking at a national workshop for “sensitising transgender people and stakeholders”.
He said,” My feeling is this – everybody should not wear a sari,” as quoted by the Times of India. But when faced with instant censure, Athawale insisted that his statement was just a suggestion and not a diktat of any kind.
Athawale’s comments come at a time when he has been promising that the Parliament will pass the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, which seeks to give equal civil rights to trans people.
He said that there are nearly six lakh transgenders in India and the Centre is taking several steps for the upliftment of their community.
“They complained to me about the harassment they face when they go to school or in other walks of life. The Centre will introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament that will give transgenders their due rights and protection,” he said.