Prejudice Against Transgenders Reflects Pakistan’s Bigoted Insecurities

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Pakistan was founded 75 years ago to ensure that the Muslims could live their lives without persecution. The recent debates and moves to block Transgender persons rights to self-identify speaks more about our own insecurities than any rational desire to prevent abuse of the law.

 

As an Editorial in Dawn pointed out the question of the “compatibility” of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2018 with “Islamic values” should be laid to rest. The law, as many activists noted, marked a milestone in Pakistan’s journey “to enshrine the rights of individuals whose gender identities are at odds with their biological sex, either due to an accident of birth or castration, etc.”

 

However, several petitioners took it to Federal Shariat court and argued “that granting people the right to self-identify as male or female is ‘against religion’ and ‘opens the door to homosexuality’.”

 

Arguments like these, however, “reflect an unfortunate and misinformed view of what it means to be transgender. Further, equating gender non-conformity with homosexuality is deeply problematic, as being transgender has nothing to do with an individual’s sexual orientation. We as a nation must learn` to stop ostracising people based on their deviances from widely held norms.”

 

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Author: Nida Paras