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Pakistan opens first transgender protection center

More centers are planned to help mainstream the marginalized transgender community

UCA News reporter, Islamabad

UCA News reporter, Islamabad

Published: October 14, 2021 07:49 AM GMT

Updated: October 14, 2021 08:00 AM GMT

Pakistan opens first transgender protection center

Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari inaugurates Pakistan's first transgender protection centre in Islamabad on Oct. 13. (Photo supplied)

Pakistan’s first transgender protection center has been inaugurated by Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari in the capital city of Islamabad.

Speaking at the inaugural event on Oct. 13, Mazari said more centers will be opened in other cities to help mainstream the transgender community and ensure their rights.

“The transgender community should be provided the same employment and health rights as other citizens of Pakistan are granted,” the minister said.

She said the federal government has included the transgender community in its poverty alleviation and health initiatives with the aim to provide them opportunities for development. The new center would provide legal aid, basic health facilities, psychological counseling and temporary shelter to the needy among the community, she added.

The Ministry of Human Rights has taken various initiatives for the effective implementation of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 with the aim to ensure the protection, rehabilitation and fundamental rights of transgender persons as guaranteed by the constitution.

The center will also carry out activities to generate awareness among the general masses and relevant stakeholders.

Many transgender people are reportedly employed now in government, media, the corporate sector and as entrepreneurs

“It’s a very good initiative that will benefit the entire transgender community. We also need protection centers in Peshawar, Karachi and other cities,” said Bindiya Rana, a transgender activist and founder president of the Gender Interactive Alliance.

She wasn’t aware of the complete details of the project but wanted the ministry to hire transgender people to run the centers more effectively. “This way the transgender people will feel more secure,” Rana told UCA News.

The federal government in Pakistan took steps to make life safer and more inclusive by legally recognizing transgender people with the ratification of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act by parliament in 2018.

In July this year, the education department of Punjab province started the first government-run school for transgender students in the city of Multan, offering classes from grade one until grade 12.

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Many transgender people are reportedly employed now in government, media, the corporate sector and as entrepreneurs.

But even with the progressive law, transgender people, especially youth, continue to face many challenges in the civic space. They often face harassment and security issues and lack social and economic opportunities.

Considered outcasts in a conservative society, transgender people risk being assaulted and sexually abused. Some even end up murdered.

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