Two bills aimed at achieving equal rights for the transgender community have been tabled by Pakistan’s National Assembly.
The bills—introduced by member Naeema Kishwar Kahn—seek to safeguard the rights of trans people “at par with other citizens and residents of the country” by amending the Pakistan Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2017 was also introduced—a bill that was developed in consultation with activist groups ‘Trans Action Pakistan’ and ‘Blue Veins’.
The proposed legislation would make it illegal for transgender people to be denied property inheritance, education, and access to housing. The law would also forbid anyone from harassing or discriminating on the basis of gender identity.
“The transgender persons constitute one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged communities in the country,” the bill reads.
“They face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lake of protection in their family, community and the society”.
It would be the first time in Pakistan that such legislation has been introduced, according to reports from local publication, Dawn.
Earlier this year, Pakistan introduced gender-neutral passports, allowing transgender and non-binary residents to select a third gender option.
Trans Action Pakistan said it was “another milestone achieved” in the fight for transgender rights in Pakistan.
“After a long struggle we are able to make another change. Now the the Govt of Pakistan is issuing Passports to transgender Community as a separate category,” the group’s Facebook page read.
“Thank you Govt of Pakistan, Ministry of Interior and Passport authorities for listening to us.”