Pakistan’s parliament passed a landmark bill that gives the country’s transgender citizens fundamental rights. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act allows people to choose their gender and to have that identity recognized on official documents, including national IDs, passports and driver’s licenses. The bill also prohibits discrimination in schools, at work, on public modes of transit and while receiving medical care.
The measure also says that transgender people cannot be deprived of the right to vote or run for office. It lays out their rights to inheritance, in accordance with their chosen gender. And it obligates the government to establish “Protection Centers and Safe Houses” — along with separate prisons, jails or places of confinement.
Despite advances, members of Pakistan’s transgender community continue to face violence and discrimination. Some trans women resort to sex work and begging in the streets to support themselves and they often fall victim to violent crimes such as rape.