Pakistan Gives Fundamental Rights to Transgender Community Pakistan's transgender community will now be able to self-identify their gender and get protection from discrimination


PAKISTAN’s parliament on Tuesday passed the landmark Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act giving its transgender community fundamental rights.

The bill is “to provide for protection, relief and rehabilitation of rights of the transgender persons and their welfare.”

This will allow transgender persons to self-identify their gender and to be identified as the same in all official documents such as voter ID and passport.

A transgender person will also be protected against discrimination in public places, educational institutions, healthcare services and employment. The bill also guarantees the right to vote, running for public office, receiving state welfare and to property inheritance.

“This kind of development is not only unprecedented in Pakistani history, but it’s one of the most progressive laws in the whole world,” Mehlab Jameel, an activist from Lahore, was quoted saying in NPR.

Members of the transgender community in Pakistan have faced severe harassment and violence with a transgender woman being shot dead in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, as recently as on May 4.

In another attack, a transgender person was severely tortured in Peshawar, the Express Tribune reported.

This is despite the government’s recent efforts to protect the rights of the community. For the first time, the 2017 national census included a category for Khawaja Siras or transgender women. The government also made available passports with a transgender category since last year.

In March, Marvia Malik made headlines by becoming Pakistan’s first transgender news anchor indicating the growing acceptance for the community in the country.

The bill now will need a presidential assent, a formal signing by President Mamnoon Hussain, to become a law.




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