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Pakistan approves changes to the transgender protection of rights Bill

'Every transgender should be allowed to determine their identity as he or she perceives himself or herself'

Pakistan approves changes to the transgender protection of rights Bill
A group of trans women thank NADRA for making it easier to get national ID cards.

Pakistan has approved change to a transgender rights bill which will allow them to identify as their gender without approval from a medical board.

The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights passed the proposed amendments to ‘The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017′.

Changes to the Bill mean transgender people will be entitled to the same rights and dignity as Pakistani citizens.

‘The transgender community is opposed to the idea of setting up a medical board that should determine their gender fearing that they might be subjected to embarrassment and harassment,’ said Chairperson of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights Senator Nasreen Jalil.

‘The bill provides protection to the members of transgender community and prohibits attack on their self-esteem and mistreatment.’

Amendments to the Bill came after two seperate pieces of legislation were introduced into the National Assembly in August last year.

The aim of the Bill was to widen the definition of transgender in Pakistan. Transgender people will be defined as ‘any person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the society norms and cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at the time of their birth’.

Inheritance and discrimination

Other features of the Bill passed included charging anyone with a criminal act who prevented transgender people from inheriting property, denying them education or unlawfully evicting them from any kind of premise because of their gender identity.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII)  was consulted about the Bill. It insisted that a medical board was no needed to determine a person’s gender identity.

Transgender people in Pakistan face a lot of violence and discrimination. But the country has also been a leader on transgender rights.

It is one of only a few countries that recognizes a third gender on passports and national ID cards, and it also counts transgender people in the census.

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