Pakistan: Senate approves bill empowering transgender community

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Senate, the upper house of parliament, on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill, empowering transgenders to determine their own gender identity.
If the bill becomes a law, the trans people, known as “hijras” in the subcontinent, would not need to appear before a medical board to determine their gender, said Nasreen Jalil, chairperson of the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights.

Pakistan’s transgender community was opposed to the idea of setting up a medical board to decide their gender. Their fear stemmed from the decision of a medical board, which might become a source of embarrassment and harassment for them. “The bill provides protection to the members of the transgender community and prohibits attack on their self-esteem and mistreatment,” Jalil said.

Under the proposed law, the transgender people will also be able to obtain a driving license and passport. They will also have the option to get their gender changed in the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) records.

The bill also bars organisations and companies from discriminating against them in jobs.

In 2011, the transgenders were given the right to vote in Pakistan, and a year later, the government had awarded them the right to inheritance. Last year, Pakistan also counted transgenders as a separate category in the census. Read more via Times of India