18, May 2018 | CJP Team
On Tuesday, May 8, Pakistan’s parliament passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, which specifically makes illegal discrimination against transgender people by employers, healthcare providers, transportation providers, educational institutions, and any private businesses or service providers, Al Jazeera reported. The law grants Pakistani citizens the right to identify themselves as female, male, or a mix of both genders, and to include their gender identity on all official paperwork, such as passports, drivers’ licenses, National Identification Cards, and education certificates. The law secures citizens’ right to express their gender identity according to their wishes, and defines gender identity as “a person’s innermost and individual sense of self as male, female or a blend of both, or neither; that can correspond or not to the sex assigned at birth”. It also calls for forming state-run protection centres for transgender people who feel threatened, and secures their rights to assembly, to access public spaces, to run for election, and to their inheritance, which is frequently challenged by certain interpretations of Although their is no official data regarding the number of transgender Pakistani citizens, an advocacy organisation, Trans Action, has projected that at least 500,000 people identify as transgender. Pakistan has a population of 207 million. In 2017, a national census found the number of transgender Pakistanis to be 10,418, but this figure has been challenged by those in the community.