Why Heteronormativity makes our rape laws problematic: The dilemma of the transgender community

Why Heteronormativity makes our rape laws problematic: The dilemma of the transgender community

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Internationally, most rape laws are based on the grave and possibly drastic assumption that only women can be raped. The rape law is moulded in a woman-centric way, rather than a victim-centric way. The most striking consequence of this was seen lately in California, where a man faced the reduced sentence of rape to sexual assault, merely because of the inadequacy of the Californian law in recognizing that rape could occur beyond the traditional definition of sexual intercourse as well. This is problematic, as sexual crimes beyond the so-called ‘traditional’ and heteronormative spectrum are rampant today, and the absence of a legal framework to address them leaves their victims helpless. One segment of these victims without redress is the transgender community. Already ostracized from society and facing rampant discrimination in countries all over the world, when members of this community face rape, they also face a law which assumes their absence from society. In a joint statement issued by various UN Agencies Ending violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people- A Programmatic Overview, emphasis was laid on the presence of laws in countries which target and accentuate the discrimination faced by the transgender community. Further, the Salzburg Global Seminar on LGBT inclusion also specified the need for more encompassing laws and policy architectures for tackling discrimination.  The Human Rights Watch in its 2018 Report has also pointed out the terrible state of discrimination against sexual minorities. Countries such as Egypt, Indonesia and Iran still engage in acts of flogging and harassment against these communities. The rape laws of several countries are deficient because of their...