Transgender rights

Published October 15, 2021

MEMBERS of the transgender community in the country are often at the receiving end of both their families’ and society’s censure and derision. Most are rejected and disowned by their families, while for its part, society sees them as lesser humans. As a result, members of the trans community face severe discrimination in jobs, education and even healthcare. Unprotected, they are vulnerable to violence against them, which has several times proved fatal. They number among the most marginalised communities in the country.

Against this background, the opening of the country’s first Transgender Protection Centre in Islamabad is a commendable initiative and should hopefully lend some much-needed institutional support to the community. The centre will act as a shelter for transpeople, while also providing them with psychological and career counselling services. Launched as part of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, the centre holds the promise of empowering transpeople and giving them authority and decision-making powers in the set-up. Though ad hoc decisions and projects have been announced by several provincial departments, these have lacked both political will and resources to ensure a lasting impact. For example, the Sindh government announced in 2019 that it would reserve 0.5pc jobs in all government departments for transpeople. But not much seems to have transpired since then. For its part, the KP government proposed a 2pc job quota for transpersons, while also mulling over the option of reserving 5pc scholarships in higher education and 1pc seats in schools and vocational institutions for them. Unfortunately, it is not clear what has become of this plan. There are around 300,000 transgender people in the country as per a 2019 court census. But the actual number is projected to be higher. The opening of the first centre should prod the provinces to establish similar shelters for the community. It would send a strong message to those who shun transpersons that the state is ready to defend a community that has been stigmatised and threatened at all levels.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Breaking the deadlock
09 Dec, 2022

Breaking the deadlock

It is time for PDM and PTI to show flexibility and realise that the future of over 240m people is at stake.
A targeted killing
09 Dec, 2022

A targeted killing

IF there were any doubts about a sinister, transnational plot to kill journalist Arshad Sharif, the 592-page report...
Dog-bite epidemic
09 Dec, 2022

Dog-bite epidemic

AN exploding population of stray canines has fuelled a dog-bite epidemic in Sindh, with the provincial health...
Worsening hunger
Updated 08 Dec, 2022

Worsening hunger

THAT the dollar liquidity crunch has started hurting the import of essential items such as vegetables and raw...
Bannu beheading
Updated 08 Dec, 2022

Bannu beheading

The state must take up the cudgels and neutralise barbarism before it spreads.
Smog misery
08 Dec, 2022

Smog misery

IF 2022 has taught us anything, it is that generations of reckless disregard for Mother Nature has accrued very ...