Pakistan’s parliament has accepted a law assuring essential rights for transgender people in a country which sees it as common to discriminate against transgenders. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) act was passed by a majority of people in the National Assembly in Islamabad.
The law bans discrimination against transgender people by employers and business owners as well as outlawing harassment in public places or at home. It also allows transgender people to self-identify as male, female or a “third sex” on official documents, such as passports and driver’s license etc.
Transgender people regularly face ruthless discrimination in Pakistan which is disheartening. Many of them struggle to find jobs and end up being attacked, murdered and raped. Some “hijras,” the term given to transgender people, intersex people and eunuchs, are compelled to work as sex workers, dancers or beggars.
The new law also creates safe houses for transgender people, and ensures to provide proper medical care and psychological counseling.
Last year, Pakistan’s transgender community was counted in the national census for the first time, which recorded 10,418 transgender people in a population of around 207 million. However, the charity Trans Action Pakistan said the figure was likely to be a significant underestimate. We believe there are at least half a million transgender people in the traditional South Asian nation. And it’s good to hear that they are growing now.
Marvia Malik, a twenty four year old transgender told that she has received an overwhelming response to her first appearance as a news anchor. She has made everyone proud and has proved that they are no less than others.
Recently, we saw the addition of transgender singers Naghma and Lucky in the latest Coke Studio season which has impressed many people. At present, Pakistan’s first transgender designer aims to make her mark and stand for her community with the release of her first luxury ready-to-wear clothing line. A 24 year old Maya Zaman is the founder of “Surkhaabi” a clothing line. Her victory is only the most recent positive change that has recently taken place for the transgender community.