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First drivers license given to trans woman in Islamabad, Pakistan

First drivers license given to trans woman in Islamabad, Pakistan

a woman with long black hair standing in front of a desk as a sitting police officer hands her a card, she is smiling

After complaining to the police chief that trans people faced too many hurdles in trying to get drivers licenses, a trans woman has become the first to get one in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.

Laila Ali had approached Inspector General of Islamabad Police Mohammad Amir Zulfiqar Khan to discuss the difficulties facing the trans community. In the same meeting she brought up the issue of drivers licenses.

‘Today I am happy after getting the license. This development will pave way for other members of my community,’ Ali told The News.

Pakistan recognizes a third gender marker on national ID cards and passports, but is yet to do so on drivers licenses. As many trans people identify as the third gender, it was impossible to get a legal driving licence.

Ali also drove illegally for 15 years, despite getting driving lessons from her dad more than 18 years ago.

Winds of change

Islamabad Police also celebrated the historic moment. It acknowledged the collaboration of trans women and police in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.

‘After KP Police, Islamabad Police have also started issuing Driving Licenses to the Transgenders community; the Winds of Change that started blowing in KP, will be entering into other parts of Pakistan now,’ Islamabad Police wrote on Twitter.

In March this year, 15 trans women got their drivers licenses in KP which became the first place Pakistan to issue them to trans people. A further 285 trans people who applied for a licence in March will receive them gradually.

Driving will help give trans people more freedom and open up more employment options for them, according to trans advocates.

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