Empowering transgender persons

As the entire country reels from an economic crisis, such marginalised communities continue to suffer immensely

February 06, 2023


It is a positive step that the transgender community has been formally included in the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). As the entire country reels from an economic crisis, such marginalised communities continue to suffer immensely. They will need all the support they can get from the government and from society to make ends meet. If successfully implemented, the Rs7,000 allowance will help members of the trans community to sustain themselves.

In order for this to be a success, there are a few things that the government must consider. First and foremost, PPP officials must look into the discrepancies within BISP as claims suggest that officers are keeping the money instead of distributing it to the hapless citizens of Sindh. Moreover, workers giving away the money must be senstitised on how to communicate with transgender persons in order to avoid any unforeseen situation. Ideally, further help can be provided by guiding the trans community on how to utilize money so that they are able to save and invest in order to achieve financial independence. A huge drawback however remains that transgenders persons still have a problem registering themselves with Nadra while many institutions refuse to acknowledge their identity. Recently, an incident occurred where two transgenders were stopped from boarding a flight due to their ‘x’ gender on their CNICs. While monetary aid much needed short-term relief to the oppressed community, a lot more effort will be required to genuinely uplift the community so that they no longer have to resort to informal means of earning a living.

Transgenders must be allowed to hold a job, rent an apartment, and receive inheritance just like others. The responsibility for this lies solely with the state. What is truly required is to make Pakistan an inclusive society so that people can live in harmony despite their differences.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2023.

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