Laws governing transgender people in Pakistan are in danger

Date:

Laws governing transgender people in Pakistan are in danger

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

Pakistani lawmakers have voiced opposition to a landmark law defending the rights of transgender people. They claim that it violates both the constitution and Islam. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed described it as “a forced, imported, anti-Islam,anti-Quran legislation”. The Act does not mention homosexuality, according to doctor Sana Yasir. Senators from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the right-wing Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-Fazl) have expressed concern and opposition to the 2018 act.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the primary religious advisory body, has also referred to it as unIslamic law. Ahmed’s plan suggests creating a gender reassignment medical board in each district, including a male and female general surgeon, a psychologist, and a top medical officer. The trans community has flatly rejected the idea of creating a medical board. Transphobia was “contained, but it is out in the open,” according to Rai. Mughal claims that “more conspicuous trans activists” like her are becoming increasingly frightened.

She receives many texts from unknown senders who refer to her as a “guy”. Moon Chaudhary, a resident of Lahore, concurred: “There is a backlash”. Rana Ahmed, a transgender rights activist in Pakistan, says the 2018 law’s opposition campaign caused “irreparable damage” to the transgender movement. Still, she is convinced that JI’s recently introduced bill was only intended to stir up a fuss and will never become law.

It has taken four years for confident lawmakers to voice their opposition to a landmark law defending the rights of transgender people, claiming that it violates both the constitution and Islam.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, a Pakistani politician affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), who is leading the campaign, described it as “a forced, imported, anti-Islam, anti-Quran legislation.” He told IPS from Peshawar that the West is attacking the two most important institutions of the Muslim Ummah, the family and marriage, to undermine us and that doing so will “open the route” for homosexuality and same-sex unions.

Ahmed claimed that for the past four years, the government has been “shamelessly advancing the agenda of Europe and America,” referring to this as “culture terrorism,” with the assistance of non-governmental organisations.

Other lawmakers have also added their voices to the discussion. For instance, PTI senator Mohsin Aziz said that transgender persons were homosexuals and that “Qaum-e Loot” referred to homosexuality that the inhabitants of Sodom had first popularised. He said, “The longer we delay atonement, the longer God’s anger will be upon us. He is one of those who recently put up changes to the law.

Using religion to inflame people’s emotions “sets a dangerous precedent,” cautioned transgender activist Shahzadi Rai of Karachi. “Spare us; our community is powerless to resist.”

In addition to stating that “although we do not support homosexuality,” Rai pleaded for the matter not to be viewed through the “prism of religion.”

The Act does not mention homosexuality, according to doctor Sana Yasir, who specialises in gender diversity and physical variety and provides gender-affirming healthcare services.

According to Anis Haroon, commissioner for the National Commission for Human Rights, which participated in consultations on the Act and wholeheartedly supported it, “right-wing politicians need such topics to keep their politics alive.”

Ahmed proposed some changes to the Act last year. Earlier this month, he unveiled a brand-new measure for protecting those he called “born with birth deformities in the genitalia,” or “khunsa,” according to the Arabic term. The Act will apply to the entire nation and go into effect immediately if passed.

A person who possesses a “mixture of male and female genital traits or congenital ambiguity” is described as a khunsa in the proposed legislation. Depending on the certification from a medical board, the person will have the option to register as either a man or a female.

“After the old law was passed, I researched it for at least two years and had discussions with numerous jurists, including those from other countries, as well as with physicians and religious professors. Ahmed defended his position and explained why it took him four years to object to legislation approved by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the Parliament. “Based on the information acquired, I came up with revisions to the 2018 bill,” Ahmed said. He has also submitted a petition opposing the 2018 Act to the Federal Shariat Court.

Parliamentarians from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the right-wing Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-Fazl) have also expressed concern and opposition to the 2018 act.

Fauzia Arshad, a senator for the PTI, told IPS that “Allah has merely stated sons and daughters in the Quran; there is no reference of another gender.” Additionally, he has offered amendments to the Senate’s human rights standing committee.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the primary religious advisory body in the nation, has also referred to it as unIslamic law.

Speaking to IPS from Islamabad, Dr Qibla Ayaz, chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, said, “We recognise the rights of the transgender people provided in the 2018 Act, but when it transgresses beyond biology and psychology and sociology come into play, we have misgivings.” He added that the council was never contacted throughout the measure discussion.

A person’s innermost and unique sense of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither, which can correlate or not with the sex assigned at birth, is described as gender identity by the law rather than gender. It also refers to gender expression, which is how someone presents their own gender identity or the gender that others perceive them to be. Gender, on the other hand, is defined by JI as “a person’s expression as per his or her sex, which is not different from the sex assigned to him or her at the time of birth or as per the advice of a medical board.”

Ahmed stated, “We do not believe in a person’s self-perceived gender identity and are calling for a medical board to be established to determine that.

Arshad supported this: “A medical board should decide a person’s sex based on where they urinate.”

“The Qur’an does not support self-perception of what one wants to be rather than what one is born as.”

Ayaz stated, “CII has some concerns about the self-perceived identity.

Ahmed’s plan suggests creating a gender reassignment medical board in each district, which would include a professor doctor, a male and a female general surgeon, a psychologist, and a top medical officer, to distinguish “genuine from false” transgender people.

He stated that if a person has a psychological illness or gender dysphoria, any sex reassignment operation to replace the genitalia will be forbidden. This was Arshad’s opinion as well.

A medical board can provide people with personality tests and blood work to assist them in determining their gender identity. According to Yasir, they can offer non-medical and medical interventions to lessen the severity of gender dysphoria.

She argued that the board could not disregard someone’s “experienced gender.”

Yasir said there was no mention of a geneticist, a psychiatrist, or anyone with transgender health training on the board.

According to healthcare specialists, establishing medical boards across Pakistan’s 160 districts is practically impossible. Genetic testing (from outside), expensive for a country with limited resources like Pakistan, is required for the complex problem and careful diagnosis by a few specialists.

The trans community has flatly rejected the idea of creating a medical board.

Bindya Rana, a transgender activist based in Karachi and the head of the Gender Interactive Alliance, declared, “We would never let anyone examine us” (GIA). We are aware of who we are, just as the men and women of this nation are.

If this discussion has accomplished anything, it is to legitimise and promote transphobia.

According to Reem Sharif, a trans activist living in Islamabad, “harassment, discrimination, and violence have grown due to the negative messaging spearheaded by Jamat-e-Islami.”

“One transgender person was killed a week ago. The alleged murderer is currently in custody, but he admitted to the authorities that he was engaged in jihad because killing transgender people would ensure his immediate entry into heaven. He is confident in his release and will complete the task, Rai stated.

She also remembered the awful assault two weeks ago on three well-known transwomen in Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She claimed they were shot multiple times, but fortunately, they all lived. The incident caused panic and dread in the neighbourhood. Transphobia was “contained, but it is out in the open,” according to Rai.

Moon Chaudhary, a resident of Lahore, concurred: “There is a backlash.” “A few trans people have publicly harassed ten days ago in an upscale area of Lahore. They were forcedly stripped down, their gender was inquired about, and then they were raped,” she claimed.

Mughal claims that “more conspicuous trans activists” like her are becoming increasingly frightened. “Bullying is occurring, and threats are being made in the open. She receives many texts from unknown senders who refer to her as a “guy,” which is “mental agony.”

Rai said she feared for her life since she actively engaged in debates hosted by clerics and defended the law on numerous TV stations. I’ve warned my flatmates to be watchful and use extra caution when inviting their buddies in since I’m concerned.

Activists for transgender people are also engaged in battle in cyberspace.

“I’m being misgendered on national television, and the same videos are subsequently circulated on social media and become extremely popular. I’m accused of pretending to be a woman while being a man, Mughal remarked. She claimed that some create a “dangerous precedent” by inciting people to wage jihad against them.

Online harassment is hurting Rai’s mental health, she said. “I believed I was strong and would be able to take it,” Rai said. For instance, 600 of the 900 comments on a social media video clip were insulting. Some called for her to be murdered or set on fire, which was brutal. She said, “Vulgar statements are attached to my images and distributed.”

Rana acknowledged that the 2018 law’s opposition campaign caused “irreparable damage” to the transgender movement. Still, she is convinced that JI’s recently introduced bill was only intended to stir up a fuss and will never become law.

She mourned, “Everything we worked for all these years has been for nothing. Rana stated that even though the law forbade discrimination against transgender people seeking employment, healthcare, education, or other opportunities, “we never benefited on any score” aside from the ability to change the name and gender on identification documents like a passport, driver’s licence, and national identity card. Even that was a significant victory for us,” she remarked. The gender of about 28,000 transsexual people was changed. However, that right is now in jeopardy as well.

Ahmed vowed he would keep fighting. He cautioned, saying: “It’s a ticking time bomb! If the khunsa law finds no takers, we will take it to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and launch street protests!”

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

Share post:

Subscribe

spot_imgspot_img

Popular

More like this
Related

Despite conflict and court rulings, Israel’s defiance and diplomatic dilemmas persist

Summary: The news article examines Israel's defiance of a court...

Policy Evaluation: Navigating the Landscape of Evidence-Based Decision-Making

News by AUN News correspondent Monday, May 06, 2024 AUN News –...

Escalating Diplomatic Crisis: Allegations of Chemical Weapon Use in Ukraine Spark Global Concern

News by AUN News correspondent Thursday, May 02, 2024 AUN News –...

Pacific International Labor Day: A Snapshot of Labor Conditions Amidst Conflict

News by AUN News Editorial desk Wednesday, May 01, 2024 AUN...