LAHORE: An opposition lawmaker has submitted a legal proposal to protect the rights of transgender persons, who face discrimination in educational institutions, healthcare facilities and employment.
The Punjab Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017 was submitted in the Punjab Assembly secretariat by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legislator Dr Nausheen Hamid on Saturday.
One of the penalties suggested in the proposed bill seeks jail term up to two years or a fine of Rs100,000 or both for anyone who endangers or threatens a transgender person. The bill states the transgender community is one of the most marginalised communities in Pakistan that sadly is not even recognised as a separate gender due to which they face many problems.
As the constitution ensures equal rights for all citizens, to ensure the transgender persons also enjoy equal rights, there is an urgent need to introduce a specific legislation. “This bill strives to secure the rights of transgender persons in the province of Punjab,” the proposal states.
The penalties section suggests that any person, who by speech, or by writing or by publication incites hatred against a transgender person shall be punished with a jail term up to one year or with fine which may extend to Rs50,000 or with both.
Whoever employs, compels or uses any transgender person for begging shall be punishable with imprisonment up to two months or with a fine up to Rs30,000 or with both. Discrimination against transgender persons shall be punished with fine of Rs50,000 as well.
The bill recommends that no person can discriminate against a transgender person on the basis of gender identity or expression. It suggests no one shall discriminate against them by ways of unfair treatment in educational institutions; for employment or occupation; in healthcare services; participation in elections and in their right to movement.
The proposal seeks the right for transgender persons to be recognised with a right to self-perceived gender identity. The government shall establish a gender recognition committee in each district of the province for purpose of recognition of such people.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2017.