PESHAWAR: Expressing grave concern over absence of a column for transvestites in the national census form, the transgender community has warned to agitate if the ‘anomaly’ was not removed immediately.

Speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday, Trans Action Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president Farzana said the government was intentionally ignoring the eunuchs, which had vast population in the country.

The proper way for registration of citizens, Farzana said was to create a special column in the census form. The transgender community, Farzana said deserved equal rights like any other Pakistani citizen, adding denying rights to them would be tantamount to contempt of court. She contended that census sans their inclusion would fail to achieve the required objectives.

The Trans Action president said despite being part of existing social edifice they were subjected to discrimination in employment, which meant overlooking legal and constitutional rights of all citizens.

The transvestites’ leader said there were about 1,500 transgender community members in Peshawar and approximately 50,000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, adding if they were not given a chance for registration, the whole transgender community would suffer in every sphere of life.

Speaking on the occasion, Trans Action vice-president, Paro, said that equal rights to the citizens on parity basis were enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan, adding that discrimination in giving rights to transvestites would be violation of the constitution.

Coordinator Blue Veins, an organisation working for women’s rights, Qamar Nasim said according to the data compiled in 2009, there were more than 500,000 transgender community members in Pakistan but they were not being given rights despite a decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in that regard.

He called for equal chance of progress and prosperity for the transgender community, and urged the government to fulfill its prime responsibility of securing rights of all citizens.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2016

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