In the country, where on one side the Transgender Rights Bill is being criticised by some religious parties and it has been termed as an attempt to promote homosexuality in the country, on the other hand, the transgender community has said that a false propaganda is being spread about the bill and calling those fighting for their separate identity homosexuals is tantamount to cruelty to the community.
The National Assembly of Pakistan has recently passed the Transgender Rights Act, which provides for the protection of transgenders, give them equal rights for education, provision of basic health facilities, the right to write their transgender identity on their national identity cards and passports, vote and contest elections.
However, some religious parties are of the opinion that this bill is actually an attempt to give legal protection to homosexuality in the country.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami has challenged the bill in the Federal Shariah Court. He is of the opinion that if an individual wants to register himself as a transgender in the Nadra records, a medical certificate should be made mandatory for him.
Maulana Fazlur Rahman, an ally of the government and head of the PDM, has said that the transgender bill is a “rebellion against the Quran and Sunnah”. “Parliament of Pakistan has no right to make laws against Quran and Sunnah,” he said, adding that this bill is not today's issue, and such laws are made secretly, when the quorum is not complete, they are presented and passed by private members.
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Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam is preparing a permanent amendment in this regard, he maintained in a recent statement.
On the other hand, the transgender community is of the view that the bill is for rights and protection of transgenders, which includes equal and basic educational rights, full access to basic health facilities like any other citizen, birth certificate, right to register or the right to be issued Form B, the right to make an identity card, the right to write (eunuch) in the gender box of the identity card, the right to vote, the removal of barriers to employment, the right to share in inherited property and the right to file a complaint against the harasser of transvestites has been discussed, including clarification.
The law, they maintain, provides for the right to legal action against those who force transgender people to beg on the streets, while adding to the government's responsibility that if a transgender person is found guilty of a crime and convicted, he or she like men, women and children, should be kept in separate jails.
Transgender rights activist Zanaiah Chaudhry told The Express Tribune that the 11 pages of the Act that has been passed did not mention any kind of sex change and neither did it allow unnatural sex between men and women nor are there any such thing mentioned in the bill. “There is no mention in this Act that a man can marry another man or a woman can marry another woman,” she said.
Renowned trance artist Jannat Ali said that eunuchs are actually those people who fail to adopt societal masculine behavior and laws due to their gender and gender discrepancy. Ali said that the word intersex is actually a collection of more than 30 sexual characteristics. “This means that every intersex child's genitals are different, and often the apparently male-looking organs begin to change by the time they reach puberty,” Ali explained.
The same point has been made in the Transgender Rights Act that every transgender person can choose their own preferred gender identity upon reaching the age of 18, she said, adding that it is being objected that in this way ordinary men and women would also choose the gender of their choice for their own personal interests, although this law is only for transgender people.
It may be mentioned that the Protection of Rights Act 2018 is commonly known as the Transgender Act. This law was passed in the last months of the PML-N regime when Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the prime minister in 2018. It was one of the few laws that the government and the opposition voted unanimously in favour of.