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Pakistan Senate passes bill protecting rights of transgender people

Pakistan Senate passes bill protecting rights of transgender people

A group of people posing for celebratory photos in front of pink and blue balloons, the colour of the trans flag

Pakistan’s Senate has voted unanimously in favor of changes to a transgender rights bill. The changes add more protections and anti-discrimination measures for the community.

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

Just some of the amendments it approved included life imprisonment for anyone who forced a transgender person into illicit intercourse or kidnapped a transgender person.

Rape of a transgender person would also come with a death sentence or jail of up to 25 years.

Last week, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor to approve the amendments.

The bill also would allow transgender people to officially ‘change’ their gender without approval from a medical board.

‘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 last month.

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

Some of the other approved changes to the bill include:

  • Trans people will be protected from discrimination from employers, educational institutions, medical services, when renting or buying property and on public transport.
  • Unlawful evictions of transgender people will result in a jail term between six months and two years imprisonment or fine up to Rs100,000 (US$904).
  • They will be able to get passports, national ID cards and drivers licenses in their true gender.
  • Procuration of a trans person will be punishable with up to ten years in jail and a fine.
  • Harassment of transgender people will be prohibited including, inside their homes.
  • It will be illegal to ‘outrage the modesty’ of a trans person or strip them of their clothes.
  • Seperate areas will be provided for incarcerated trans people and law enforcement will undergo sensitivity training.
  • They will be allowed to inherit property.
  • The government will trans people with business loans and provide employment training.

The bill must now also pass the National Assembly and receive presidential assent before it becomes official law.