After a long heated debate and struggle, the country’s transgender community has just managed to win half their battle — the inclusion of a box for the “third gender” community.
The new policy, under which the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will include the third box titled “Mukhanas”, will be implemented from January 1, 2011, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s directives.
But the issue isn’t as simple as that. All those applying under the Mukhanas category (which has two sub categories, ‘Khwaja Sira’ or he and ‘Zankha’ or she-males) need to satisfy some “essential requirements”, says NADRA’s media manager on condition of anonymity.
“They must first obtain a certification from the ministry of social welfare clearly stating that they are genuinely from the third sex,” the source explains, adding, “If we don’t do this, we can’t sift out the posers. We require a similar certification or proof from the disabled, otherwise anyone can claim anything and we will not have a way of keeping track.”
The certification in question requires a medical examination of the individual to ascertain their gender classification. This ranges from a regular medical check-up but, in some cases, slightly more invasive procedures such as X-rays and endoscopies.
Bindia Rana, president of the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), rejects outright a medical investigation or the need to meet these “essential requirements”. Clearly frustrated with the situation, 40-year-old Rana says, “We didn’t accept undergoing a medical investigation before and we maintain the same position now.”
Sarah Gill, 22, the government focal person for the transgendered community in the country and a fourth-year medical student agrees. “Previously, we made our stance on a medical check-up very clear.” According to Gill, if the transgendered are made to undergo a medical check-up, the same should apply to men and women. “Why are we the only ones getting tested? We know exactly who we are, just as men and women know who they are.”
Nadra Deputy Chairperson Tariq Malik agrees with the community. “They know who they are and they shouldn’t have to undergo a medical investigation but some authority needs to make that decision.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2010.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ