The Human Rights Minister in Pakistan has hired a trans woman to her department for the first time.
Doctor Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari announced the appointment yesterday (30 May) on Twitter.
Many LGBTI people and allies praised the move. A monumental step in a country where progress for trans people has been slow but steady.
‘Welcomed our first transgender Ayesha Moghul who is going to work in the [Ministry of Human Rights] as a resource person – Thank you,’ Doctor Mazari wrote.
Sitting opposite one another, Moghul’s face beaming, Mazari was photographed in her office welcoming her ministry’s latest employee.
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) May 30, 2019
Moreover, dozens of Twitter users lauded Doctor Mazari. One user wrote: ‘Highly appreciated. They have a complete right to secure respectful place in society.’
Another remarked that it was a ‘great step,’ while a user said it was ‘refreshing.’
LGBTI rights in Pakistan
Mazari first came in office as a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2013. Five years on, and not much has changed for LGB people in the south Asian country.
Pakistani penal codes criminalize homosexuality, punishable with a prison sentence of up 10 years.
But Pakistani lawmakers are making strides for the country’s trans population. Last year, Parliament passed the Transgender Persons (Protections of Rights) Act.
The bill enshrined broad protections for trans people, such as the right to self-identify and access public services.