July 13, 2017

Protection Policy on Transgender and Intersex Person

Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)

Protection Policy on Transgender and Intersex Person

Policy Context:

Transgender and Intersex community in Pakistan are a marginalized population. They live their life in difficult conditions and face stigma in their day to day life. Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is committed to change the mindset of public which will be favorable to Transgender and intersex community. Transgender and intersex people in Pakistan face a variety of issues. So far, these communities perceive that they have been excluded from effectively participating in social and cultural life; economy; and politics and decision-making processes. A primary reason (and consequence) of the exclusion is perceived to be the lack of (or ambiguity in) recognition of

the gender status of transgender and intersex people. It is a key barrier that often prevents them in exercising their civil rights in their desired gender. So far, there is no single comprehensive source based on which an evidence-based advocacy action plan can be prepared by transgender activists or possible legal solutions can be arrived at by policymakers. Reports of harassment, violence, denial of services, and unfair treatment against transgender and intersex persons in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation have been discussed in local media, from time to time.

The challenges encountered by transgender and intersex community have been brought to the attention of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) who have shown a great sensitivity and interest towards resolving the challenges faced by transgender and intersex community. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is the first Pakistani province to notify a special committee called ‘Chief Minister’s Special Committee on Rights of Transgender Persons which also includes transgender activist and civil society representatives. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Govt also made budgetary allocation of 200 Million PKR for the upliftment and empowerment of transgender and intersex community for the first the time in the history of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the year 2016-2017.

On December 13, 2016, the special committee of Chief Minister (KP) meet for the first time and took land mark decision to formulate the Transgender and intersex protection policy for Khyber Pakhtukhwa (KP_ which is the first policy of its kind in Pakistan and 2nd in South Asia which aims to end social stigma, discrimination and create opportunities for transgender and intersex community in every field of life as equal and productive citizens of Pakistan.

Blue Veins and TransAction (Provincial Alliance for transgender and Intersex Community) has made in-depth study of the problems being faced by the
Transgender and intersex community in Khyber Pakhtukhwa and suggested suitable measures that can be taken by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government to ameliorate their problems. These problems can broadly be categorized in two parts:

(I) Denial of various rights and facilities and
(ii) Social injustice

Rationale of the Policy:

The main reason that Transgender community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faces stigma, violence, abuse and discrimination is because they are excluded from socio-economic and political spectrum. They are the most marginalized segment of the society. The unique needs of the transgender men, transgender women and intersex community were long ignored by society. Transgender and intersex persons do not have the same level of rights as other Pakistanis and are routinely harassed, discriminated, and are subjected to violence simply for being transgender and intersex, living on the margins of the society as entertainers, beggars and sex workers. They face multiple levels of legal, institutional and societal discrimination. While, the Constitution of Pakistan protects all citizens by safeguarding their rights, dignity and status; these rights are not translated into laws and protection mechanisms at the state level with respect to vulnerable groups and specifically the transgender and intersex community.

For several accounts, the transgender and intersex community is the most vulnerable and socially isolated community which come from a wide range of geographic and demographic backgrounds. Transgender and other gender minority people are diverse in such factors as age, race, ethnicity, religion, income, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and refugee status. Despite their differences, gender minority people from all backgrounds face common experiences of discrimination just because they are transgender and intersex. Unfortunately, In Pakistan, the gender identity continues to be used as justifications for serious human rights violations. Transgender and intersex people especially those who are visibly gender non-conforming, are more likely to experience violence in the home, on the street, and in all settings which provide service delivery like access to health, education, housing, livelihood and protection.

In Khyber Pakhtukhwa media has reported a higher level of violence against the Transgender persons. They experience rejection, stigmatization, harassment and physical violence because they do not conform with prevailing gender norms. Denied official identity documents that reflect their preferred gender, they are cut off from work, denied basic public services, and faced with deeply engrained discrimination in the health and education sectors. These abuses are systematic but under-reported. The response, at both a national and international level, has been, almost without exception, inadequate because there are no policies available to ensure the rights of the transgender persons at national and provincial level.

The legal obligations that State has is to protect transgender and intersex persons from violence and discrimination are no different from those that State have towards all other persons. Transgender and intersex rights are not a separate or special sub-set of rights; they are human rights. Transgender and intersex people are no less entitled than anyone else to enjoy the right to life, freedom from arbitrary arrest and torture, freedom from discrimination and freedom of expression, association and assembly. These rights and many others are universal: enshrined in national and international law but withheld from many transgender and intersex people simply because of their gender identity or gender expression. The protection guarantees by the Constitution of Pakistan,1973 in Article 14 for dignity of human being and privacy of home, in Article 15 freedom of movement and Article 38 expressly makes it obligingly upon the State to secure the well-being of the people, irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race, by raising their standard of living etc., the discrimination and atrocities against the transgender community is upon secret. To effectively address the issue being confronted by this marginalized community.

To rectify this situation, the Social Welfare Department (Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) notifies this policy, to enforce the constitutional rights of transgender and intersex community of Khyber Pakhtukhwa, considering the orders of the honorable Supreme court and High courts.

This policy covers all the categories of TGs, including but not limited to Female to Male TGs, Male to Female TGs and Intersex people. This policy emphasizes the rights of TGs to self-identify their desired sex and gender.KP Govt will not conduct any medical or phycological evolution to determine the gender of the transgender and intersex persons. While to benefit from any Govt scheme and quota (If any) only those transgender and intersex community will be eligible who have NADRA identity card mentioning/recognizing them as transgender and intersex community.

This document states that the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa policy on Transgender and Intersex papulation, its goals and objectives and approaches, it explains the broad framework within which Transgender and Intersex considerations will be integrated into development interventions in Khyber Pakhtukhwa (KP).