For the first time Pakistan will count transgender people in its national census.
Earlier this month the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ali Shah on Monday directed the Pakistani government to include transgender people in March’s census.
A local transgender person Waqar Ali filed a petition in November asking High Court for transgender people in the census.
“We are glad that we will be counted as will be other people,” transgender rights worker Almas Bobby told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Hope we get equal citizenship and equal status.”
Officials had directed transgendered people to mark themselves as a person with disability in previous censuses.
Trangender rights in Pakistan
While many transgender people in Pakistan still live in poverty, rights for transgender people have improved in recent years.
In 2011 the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled in favour of allowing transgender people to get identity cards marking their gender as ‘other’ rather than male or female. They were also allowed to vote.
The following year the Supreme Court also declared equal rights for transgender people granting them the right to inherit property and assets.
March’s population count will be the sixth national census and it is believed the Pakistan’s population has grown by more than 50 per cent since the last census in 1998.
Local group TransAction estimates the number of transgender people living in Pakistan is about 500,000.