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Trans activists in Pakistan call on govt to urgently tackle ‘endemic’ violence

Trans activists in Pakistan call on govt to urgently tackle ‘endemic’ violence

Transgender rights experts address a conference in Lahore (Photo: Twitter)

Transgender activists in Pakistan called on the government to urgently tackle widespread violence and discrimination against the transgender community.

Pakistan passed a landmark legislation to protect transgender people in May. But, the community still faces widespread violence and discrimination on the ground. Pakistan has seen at least 62 murders of transgender individuals this year.

Activists want a government body to implement the anti-discrimination laws.

Trans Pakistanis face mistreatment at the hands of police, government officials, and healthcare professionals. Families and communities often reject transgender Pakistanis. They suffer high levels of mental health problems as a result.

A commission is urgently needed to implement the transgender act, experts told the Asma Jehangir Conference on Justice for empowerment in Lahore this weekend.

‘They have burnt transgender alive, killed them, raped them and tortured them to death. No one can imagine our pain which we face every day’ said activist Jannat Ali according to The News.

Ali Dayan Hasan from the United Nations Development Programme moderated the session. Transgender activist Jannat Ali, Grassroots Community Organiser and Researcher Mehlab Jameel, lawyer Sarah Sohail and teacher Aun Shahid also spoke.

‘Unfortunately, violence on us starts from our own home and from our own loved ones. Talking about gender preferences is still a taboo in Pakistan. And we need to talk about it more.’ said Shahid.

 

Violence

At least 62 transgender Pakistani’s have been killed this year. In August, Pakistan’s trans community took to the streets to protest violence against the community. They demanded better police protection.

In May, a wide-ranging piece of legislation granted intersex people, eunuchs and trans men and women the option to self-identify their gender on official forms.

The bill also criminalizes anyone who prevents transgender people from inheriting property, denies them education or unlawfully evicts them because of their gender identity.

Pakistan has recognized the third gender since 2009. Census data suggests there are about 10,000 trans people in Pakistan but advocacy group Trans Action Pakistan says about 500,000 trans people live in the country.

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