For the first time, Pakistan will count transgender people in its population in March this year when it begins the National census survey. The Lahore High Court has passed the ruling to the government, National Database and Registration Authority, and the interior ministry with a government official assuring the court that the transgender community will be part of the 2017 census, reported Reuters.
The ruling by the Lahore HC came after a Pakistani transgender person Waqar Ali filed a petition against the oppression of the community in the country. Even their fundamental rights were not recognised, so he appealed that the community should be vested with the rights in the sixth national census.
Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of Lahore HC ruled the counting of the trans community members in the National census and giving basic fundamental rights to them.
“We are glad that we will be counted as will be other people,” transgender rights worker Almas Bobby told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The move was celebrated by the transgender community.
In a total population of 190 million, there are approximately 5,00,000 transgender people in the country, according to advocacy group Trans Action. However, earlier than this, the number of people in the community have never been counted officially neither have their rights been recognized by the government.
It is only now that trans community is opening up in Pakistan but until a few years ago, they were ostracized by society and forced to stay in the closet. The Pakistan court in 2012 even allowed them equal basic rights like right to inherit property and assets. In 2011, the court allowed them the right to vote. However, it is the closed-minded society that has been restricting them to live a normal life and often forced into begging, prostitution and earning a living by dancing.
Picture credit- Vice News