The police force in Pakistan’s Sindh province has announced that they will now allow transgender people to serve as regular duty police officers.
The police chief said that it was time to offer more opportunities to transgender people, who are often relegated to “menial jobs” in Pakistan, according to NBC News.
Transgender activists in the region say the decision will be a significant step for the community.
Police chief said: ‘We should stand by them’
“We will make them part of Sindh police,” Syed Kaleem Imam, Inspector General of the Sindh police told Reuters today.
“They are good God-gifted people. Citizens like us. We should stand by them,” he added.
Transgender people in Pakistan were granted rights equal to other citizens in 2009 by the country’s Supreme Court.
Despite this, transgender people in Pakistan continue to face persecution and transphobia.
“They are good God-gifted people. Citizens like us. We should stand by them.”
– Syed Kaleem Imam, Inspector General of the Sindh police
Last December, the country hosted its first ever transgender pride march in Lahore, Pakistan.
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Campaigners pressed the government to implement the transgender rights reforms that were backed by lawmakers earlier in the year.
Trans campaigner Neeli Rana said last year: “We are thankful to the government on passing the bill.
“This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that transgender persons have been given their rights.
Despite legislation, transgender people face hostility in Pakistan
“It is our right to protest and take to the streets. Now it is the government’s responsibility to implement this bill because in the past, [bills have been] passed but never practically implemented.”
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, passed by Pakistan’s Parliament in May 2018, allows people to self-identify as male, female or non-binary and to have that identity recorded on official documents, including passports and ID cards.
It guarantees citizens the right to a gender identity defined as “a person’s innermost and individual sense of self” that can “correspond or not to the sex assigned at birth.”
The bill also prohibits discrimination in public places, including schools, hospitals and on public transport, and ensures trans citizens are given the right to vote in elections and run for office.
But despite the legislation, transgender people still face extreme hostility in Pakistani society.