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PESHAWAR: The TransAction Alliance and Blue Veins have demanded the early approval and enforcement of the draft policy for the protection of the transgender persons’ rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Blue Veins programme coordinator Qamar Naseem told reporters at the Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday that a special committee, including transgender activists and civil society representatives, had drafted the policy for the transgender persons’ protection and submitted it to the social welfare department for review and approval, which had been pending for a long time.

He said if that policy was implemented, KP would be the first province to do so.

Accompanied by TTA president Farzana Jan, the Blue Veins representative appreciated the government for showing interest in the resolution of problems facing transgender persons in the province and said KP was the first province to notify a special committee for the rights of transgender persons

He said transgender persons were socially marginalised in the country and were denied basic rights.

“The transgender community’s members are publicly ridiculed and are excluded from the society. They are also subjected to discrimination and humiliation by the police and medical authorities as well,” he said.

Mr Naseem said as the government didn’t ensure the protection of transgender persons, many of them became beggars or sex workers and thus, exposing themselves to violence.

He said the proposed policy would ensure the introduction of the best international practices on legal gender recognition.

The Blue Veins representative said the draft policy made a reference to Pakistan’s Constitution and was in alignment with the Yogyakarta principles, which stated that everyone had the right to recognition everywhere and that no one would be forced to undergo medical procedures, including sex reassignment surgery, sterilisation or hormonal therapy, as a requirement for legal recognition of their gender identity.

He said the proposed policy promised end to the social stigma towards transgender and intersex persons as well as non-discrimination.

“The policy is meant to enforce the constitutional rights of transgender and intersex community in light of the 2009 Supreme Court judgment and directives of other courts,” he said.

Ms Farzana Jan said her community’s members firmly believed that the policy’s implementation would end social stigma towards and discrimination against them and would create opportunities for them to become productive citizens.

“We have made an in-depth study of the problems faced by transgender and intersex persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and suggested suitable measures to the provincial government to address those problems,” she said.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2017