‘84pc of transgender men, women have faced aggression, abuse’
ISLAMABAD: Around 84pc of transgender men and women in Punjab have faced aggression and abuse from their family members, especially men identifying as women.
A survey conducted by a non-governmental organisation, Good Thinkers Organisation (GTO), says that around 70pc of the transgender community is illiterate, which leads to them being further marginalised and vulnerable.
The study was conducted over three months during which gurus (community heads) were also interviewed and according to the results, 89pc of the transgender community do not get inheritance from their families or gurus.
About 57pc of the general public do not acknowledge the existence and needs of the trans-community and discourage their participation in society, 68pc of the trans-community are associated with dancing, 22pc with begging, 9pc work as skilled labour and only 1pc work in public or private offices, the report says.
The study claims that only 8pc of the trans-community go to government health facilities and that the remaining prefer visiting private clinics or spiritual healers due to the unaccepting attitude of government officials.
It was observed that only 58pc of transgender men and women have their CNICs and that 59pc do not know about their basic rights.
The study recommends the inclusion of transgender men and women in human rights service and delivery programmes and that adequate legislation and effective policy making is also needed in order to include the transgender community in society. The study also suggests mass awareness campaigns to raise awareness about the rights of the trans-community.
Talking to Dawn, GTO President Waqas Abid, who is also a high court advocate, said that the police arrest members of the trans-community when they are celebrating their birthdays.
“Molesting members of the trans-community is an offence under section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which defines unnatural offence. Section 377 A and B deal with molesting children and we have recommended the inclusion of a section 377 C for the molestation of transgender men and women,” he explained.
In reply to a question, Mr Abid said there are no reliable figures for the number of transgender men and women in the country, though according to an estimate, about 42,000 members of the trans-community reside in Punjab.
He suggested that special legislation should be introduced for counting members of the transgender community in the next census.