The first ever event took place on Saturday, December 29th, and the marchers were pressing the government to ensure that they implement the transgender rights bill that lawmakers had passed in 2018.
During a press conference held at the Lahore Press Club, members of the transgender community celebrated their recent success in getting the bill passed. “We are thankful to the government on passing the bill,” said Neeli Rana, one of the leaders in the community to the Express Tribune. “This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that transgender persons have also been given their rights.”
Rana also said that she was happy to see the gains members of Pakistan’s transgender community have made. “Transgender persons are working in all walk of life including modelling, anchoring and business,” Rana said. “It is also our right to protest and take to the streets. Now it is the government’s responsibility to implement this bill because in the past, (a) women(‘s) bill was passed but it has never been practically implemented.”
Rana is also demanding that the killing and harassment of transgender people should be stopped. She is also advocating for the government to require quotas in hiring members of the transgender community.
The Transgender Persons Act, was passed by Pakistan’s Parliament in May 2018. The bill allows people to self-identify as male, female or non-binary and to have that identity recorded on official government documents including passports and ID cards. It prohibits discrimination in public places, including schools and hospital while also giving transgender citizens the right to vote in and run for office in elections.
Even with the new legislation, transgender people in Pakistan are still experiencing violence, harassment and hostility.