ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill aimed at protecting the rights of transgender persons, by prohibiting discrimination against them and prescribing imprisonment of up to six months for those employing members of the marginalised community as beggars or compelling them to beg.
Two separate bills on the rights of transgender persons were moved — one by Senator Karim Ahmad Khawaja and the other by Senator Rubina Khalid, who are both members of the PPP. The two bills were later clubbed together with consensus among members of the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights.
The bill bars people from treating a transgender person unfairly at educational institutions and healthcare facilities and in relation to employment, trade or occupation. It prohibits denial of access to, removal from, or meting out of unfair treatment at government or private establishments, organisations, institutions, departments and centres in whose care, custody or employment a transgender person may be. It also prohibits harassment of transgender persons both within and outside the home, based on their gender identity.
The bill makes it obligatory for the government to take steps to secure effective participation of transgender persons in various activities, and their inclusion in society. The steps identified for the purpose include establishment of protection centres and safe houses for them, to ensure the rescue, protection and rehabilitation of transgender persons, in addition to providing medical facilities, psychological care, counselling and education to them.