Asia & Australia

May 11, 2018

Transgender Rights Bill passed by Pakistan’s Parliament


Pakistan's parliament has passed a law guaranteeing basic rights for transgender citizens and outlawing discrimination by both employers and private business owners, a move hailed by activists as "historic" for the conservative South Asian country.

The law’s purpose is “to provide for protection, relief, and rehabilitation of rights of the transgender persons and their welfare.”

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act allows people to choose their gender and to have that identity recognized on official documents, including national IDs, passports and driver's licenses. The bill also prohibits discrimination in schools, at work, on public modes of transit and while receiving medical care.

On May 8, members of the Pakistani parliament passed the bill in Islamabad and it later was sent to President Mamnoon Hussain to be signed into law. It’s unclear when the legislation would take effect.

The law defines gender identity as “a person’s innermost and individual sense of self as male, female or a blend of both or neither; that can correspond or not to the sex assigned at birth.

People who identify as third gender, known in Pakistan as khawaja sira, have already achieved legal victories. They can obtain third-gender ID cards and be counted in the census.

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