Trans people in Pakistan have called on the government to implement legal protections as they staged the country’s first Transgender Pride march.
The first ever rally for transgender rights in Lahore, Pakistan took place on December 29, with transgender campaigners calling on the government to push ahead with reforms.
“This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that transgender persons have been given their rights.”
— Trans campaigner Neeli Rana
Trans campaigner Neeli Rana told the outlet: “We are thankful to the government on passing the bill.
“This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that transgender persons have been given their rights.
“It is our right to protest and take to the streets. Now it is the government’s responsibility to implement this bill because in the past, [bills have been] passed but never practically implemented.”
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, passed by Pakistan’s Parliament in May 2018, allows people to self-identify as male, female or non-binary and to have that identity recorded on official documents, including passports and ID cards.
It guarantees citizens the right to a gender identity defined as “a person’s innermost and individual sense of self” that can “correspond or not to the sex assigned at birth.”
The bill also prohibits discrimination in public places, including schools, hospitals and on public transport, and ensures trans citizens are given the right to vote in elections and run for office.
But despite the legislation, transgender people still face extreme hostility in Pakistani society.
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