Read the memorandum sent to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on AAP MLA Alka Lamba’s transphobic remarks

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]rans community and its allies have submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, against his party (AAP)  member and serving MLA Alka Lamba for stereotyping the trans community by calling them “beech wale” who clap loudly (“thaali peetna”). Despite being called out on Twitter for her transphobic remarks, she has neither pulled down her tweet, nor has apologised for it.

On another occasion Maneka Gandhi, during the course of discussion on Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 on July 26, sniggered and called the trans community “the other”. It was followed by the laughter from the Members of Parliament present in the House.

In India, the trans community is highly vulnerable to abuses — both physical and mental — and becomes a subject of mockery. The above-mentioned Bill in discussion has a huge impact on the trans community. When the laws makers snigger and “other” a community, one is not surprised that the same mindset is reflected in the law.

However, when called out on Twitter, Maneka Gandhi posted a public apology for calling “the other one”. She said she did not snigger but was embarrassed at her own “lack of knowledge”.

The Complete Memorandum

Memorandum to the Chief Minister, Delhi condemning the derogatory, anti-transgender person remarks by Ms. Alka Lamba, AAP MLA and calling for immediate withdrawal of the same, with a public apology.

6th August, 2018

Sh. Arvind Kejriwal
The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi
Sent to: [email protected], [email protected],
CC: [email protected]
Dear Chief Minister,

The object of writing this letter to you is the welfare and the dignity of the transgender community. On the 29th of July, Ms. Alka Lamba, one of your party members and serving MLA from Chandni Chowk constituency, took to the online platform of Twitter to pass a comment on someone, understandably a political critique. In doing so, she referred to transgender persons as “beech wale” who clap loudly (“thaali peetna”). Her exact statement (translated into English) was this: “Even the ‘middle ones’ don’t clap so much as this person does single handedly ! Clever people understand by a mere gesture”.

We take severe offense at the fact that your party member and sitting MLA chose to ridicule trans people, to make her point about a third party, and that she used a deeply disrespectful and stereotyped reference to transgender persons. Further, despite she being notified of the same
and being asked to withdraw the tweet as well as apologize by numerous people, she has neither pulled down the tweet nor has she apologized to the transgender community. The link to the tweet is here and a screenshot of the tweet (as it exists online today is attached)

This development comes at a time when your government has taken a progressive step to establish a Transgender Welfare Board in Delhi, after pursuit by friends from the transgender community, and it sullies the record of your party and the efforts of all those sensitive individuals in your party. How can a government trying to take steps towards the welfare of a community simultaneously allow its members to degrade the same community?

We wish to make it clear that it is not our objective to name and shame people, but what Alka Lamba did was not only wrong, it was extremely humiliating for an entire community and we hope she realizes the gravity of this. As your good self must be aware, just a few days back, Ms. Maneka Gandhi, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development also made some derogatory remarks and gestures about transgender persons inside the Parliament and had to apologize, owing to intense public pressure. While it is anybody’s discretion to criticize someone in a constructive way, it is definitely not alright to offend and denigrate a whole section of people in the garb of ‘critique’ of some third party or on the pretext of ‘lack of knowledge’.

It needs not reiteration that transgender individuals are human beings and equal citizens, with all rights under the Constitution as well as per the judgement of the Apex Court in NALSA and we deserve to be treated with dignity. We, therefore, demand an immediate public apology from Ms. Lamba for her tweet and a withdrawal of the same. We also demand that AAP must issue a statement publicly condemning this tweet of its sitting MLA and assure the transgender community, especially in Delhi, that it would fully respect and implement the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in NALSA versus Union of India, in all aspects and particularly would adopt a zero-tolerance approach as regards discrimination of transgender persons.

We shall support any genuine efforts from your government towards the well-being and strengthening of rights of the transgender community and hope that such incidents will not happen again. We also urge you to take adequate and consistent measures to sensitize your party members, at all levels, to ensure they don’t conduct themselves in a manner that cause offense or harm to other people, especially the marginalized and vulnerable sections.

The Trans Community and Its Allies,
1. Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)
2. Sampoorna Working Group – A Network of Trans & Intersex Indians.
3. Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)
4. LABIA – A Queer Feminist LBT Collective Mumbai
5. Sangama
6. Karnataka Sex Workers Union
1. Grace Banu, Transrights Now Collective, Delhi
2. Bittu Karthik, Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti, WSS- Delhi, Karnataka
3. Rihana Yadav, Community Empowerment Trust, Delhi
4. Satya Rai Nagpaul, Trans Activist, Delhi & Mumbai.
5. Anshu, Trans Activist, Delhi
6. Jamal, Transman Collective, Delhi
7. Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) & Telangana Hijra
Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)
8. Vyjayanthy Vasantha Mogi, Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)

9. Rachana Mudraboyina, Telangana Hijra Intersex transgender Samiti
10. Gee Imaan, Trans rights activist, Bangalore and Kerala
11. Esvi Anpu Kothazham, Transgender Person
12. Shyam Balasubramanian, Transman Coimbatore.
13. Kanaga Varathan, Transrights Activist, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
14. Rumi Harish, Trans Activist, Bangalore
15. Vihaan Peethambar, Board member – Queerala, an LGBTIQA+ organization
16. Shilpi Banerjee, Clinical Psychologist, Delhi
17. Uma, Jeeva Organization, Bangalore
18. Aaditya, Executive Board Member Tweet Foundation, Trans man, Delhi
19. Namrata Jaiswal, Activist and member of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Telangana State and
working with Aman Vedika, a non profit organisation.
20. Nishank, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Youth Wing Convenor, Madhya Pradesh.
21. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public Health Doctor and researcher, Karnataka
22.Madhu Bhushan, independent activist-writer, CIEDS Collective, Bangalore
23. Xavier Dias, Human Rights Activist, Editor Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR.
24.Sreedhar, Managing Trustee, Environics Trust
25. Arundhati Dhuru NAPM
26.Nishi Khandelwal, Nirantar
27.Krishna Shree, M.A. student, Madras School of Social Work
28.Purnima Gupta, Feminist Activist, Delhi
29. Saswati Ghosh, Academic and activist, Kolkata
30. Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Rajasthan
31. Pyoli Swatija, Advocate-on-record at Supreme Court of India
32. Anuradha Banerji, Independent researcher, New Delhi.
33. Urmila Chanam, Breaking the Silence, Ambassador World Pulse, UNFPA National
Laadli Awardee, Iconic Women Awardee( WEF)
34. Badal Saroj , CPM, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
35.Amit Kumar, National Organizer, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

36.Roma, All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Uttar Prdaesh
37.Rishit Neogi, Ambedkar University Delhi
38.Vidya Dinker, Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development & INSAF
39.Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam, Tamil Nadu.
40.Basant Hetamsaria, NAPM, Jharkhand.
41.Sabita Parida, Independent Research and Evaluation Consultant New Delhi
42. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Feminist and Human Rights Activist, Mumbai
43. R. Indira, Basti Adhikar Manch
44. Chayanika Shah, Queer feminist activist, Mumbai
45. Kiran Shaheen, All India People’s Forum, (AIPF) New Delhi
46. Venkat Reddy, Child Rights Protection Forum, Hyderabad
47. Himshi Singh, NAPM-Delhi,
48. Uma; National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) , Uttarakhand
49. Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan and NAPM
50.Gautam Mody, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)
51.Tara Murali, Activist
52. Prof. C. Ramachandraiah, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.
53. Ajita, People’s Union for Democratic Rights (New Delhi)
54. Prof. Padmaja Shah, Retired Dean of Journalism, Osmaina University, Hyd.
55. Samhita Barooah, Independent Researcher, Guwahati, Assam
56. Prof. Sujatha Surepally, Satavahana University, Telangana,
57. Suresh Ediga, Concerned Citizen
58. Nimisha Agarwal, Scientist, Activist
59. Komal Mohite, Activist, Delhi
60. Prof. Mary E John, Feminist Scholor, New Delhi
61. Adv. Shalini Gera, Chhattisgarh.
62. Priya Shkla, Advocate and Aam Aadmi Party, Youth Wing Convenor, Chhattisgarh.

63. Inji Pennu, Journalist, Global Voices
64. Kavitha Kuruganti , Farmers Rights Activist
65. Anjali Bhardwaj and Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, New Delhi
66. Nita Mahadev, Social Activist, Gujarat
67. Anil Hebbar, Activist, Mumbai
68. Priya Pillai, Environmental and Social Activist, Delhi.
69. Nandini Rao, Feminist Activist and Trainer, New Delhi
70. Rinchin, Social Activist , Chhattisgarh
71. Madhuri, social activist, Jagrit Dalit Adivasi Sangathan, Madhya Pradesh
72. Uma V Chandru
73. Karuna, Chennai
74. Nisha Biswas, Civil Liberties Activist, W. Bengal
75. Seshagiri BV, Social Activist
76. Meena Seshu , Sangram, Sangli
77. Chitra Mathur, PhD scholar, Public Systems Group, IIM Ahmedabad
78. Dr. Sunilam, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and Samajwadi Samagam, Madhya Pradesh
79. Manohar Elavarthi, Bengaluru, Swaraj Abhiyan
80. Shweta Tripathi, Social Activist, Delhi
81. Maj Gen (Read.) S.G.Vombatkere Mysore
82. Satyam Shrivastava, SRUTI, Delhi
83. Ashok Choudhary, All India Union of Forest Working People
84. Joe Athialy, Activist, New Delhi
85. Shakun Doundiyakhed, Feminist Consultant
86. Ashwini Kamal, Activist
87. Vasavi Lori, Journalist-Activist, Jharkhand
88. Devangana Kalita, Pinjra Tod
89. Ravi Rebbapragada, Mines Minerals and People
90. Geeta Gairola, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch, Dehradun

The Leaflet