Pakistan Grants Transgender Rights

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ruled that transgender people are “full and equal citizens” and should be accorded all the rights and benefits of federal and provincial governments. The following story is from DAWN, Pakistan’s leading English language newspaper, which while sympathetic, refers to trans folks as “transvestites,” “hermaphrodites”, and “gender-confused.”

“They are citizens of Pakistan and enjoy the same protection guaranteed under Article four (rights of individuals to be dealt with in accordance of law) and Article nine (security of person) of the Constitution,” ruled a three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja on Tuesday. The bench had taken up the petition seeking establishment of a commission to emancipate effeminate men ostracised by the society for no fault of theirs.

Islamic jurist Dr Mohammad Aslam Khaki, who researched on the conditions of the ignominious merrymakers and discovered them to be the most oppressed and deprived segment of the society and subjected to humiliation and molestation, had filed the petition for the welfare of the transvestites left by the society to live by begging, dancing and prostitution. Parents give their hermaphrodite children into the care of gurus (leaders of transvestites) at a very tender age who abuse them instead of providing them the opportunity to get education.

One transwoman stated that by appearing before the Court to plead her case, she had probably put her life at risk.

(Tipped by JMG reader Osman)