KARACHI: The transgender community and civil society have raised significant concerns over the federal and provincial governments’ neglect of their welfare in their budgets for the financial year 2024-2025.

They also highlighted the lack of implementation of existing laws aimed at preventing discrimination and violence against transgender individuals.

According to a press release, a convention organised by the Sub-Ring Society and The Coalition for Inclusive Pakistan (CIP) brought together prominent figures such as Sindh Human Rights Commission chairman Iqbal Detho, former provincial minister Shamim Mumtaz, CEO of Sabrang Society Kami Chaudhry, civil society activist Rana Asif, Dr Sarah Gill and several others.

During the convention, speakers emphasised the federal and provincial governments’ injustice in failing to allocate funds for transgender welfare in their budgets.

They urged the introduction of initiatives like health and public transport cards specifically for the transgender community.

Additionally, they called for the establishment of ‘Protection Centres’ nationwide, similar to those in Punjab, to ensure the safety and support of transgender individuals.

The attendees urged authorities to immediately implement existing laws designed to protect transgender persons and to pass more effective legislation to eradicate inhumane discrimination.

Emphasising the need for behavioural change within the police force, they advocated for training police officers and first responders to better support transgender individuals.

They also demanded representation for the transgender community in national and provincial assemblies to include their voices in decision-making processes.

Furthermore, the participants called for the Election Commission of Pakistan to release separate data for transgender voters, alongside male and female statistics.

They suggested that forms used under the Elections Act and Elections Rules 2017 should include “Mx” as a salutation option, in addition to Mr/Mrs/Ms.

To bolster the rights of transgender individuals, they proposed provincial legislation mirroring the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, enacted by the federal parliament.

This convention marks a significant step in highlighting the ongoing struggles of Pakistan’s transgender community and calls for immediate and comprehensive government action to ensure their rights and welfare, the press release concluded.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2024

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