Amidst all the reports on violence against transgender community in the province there has been progressive work done for the community to ensure their rights have been given and secured for them. Various Special Initiatives for Transgender Community in KPK are introduced in last few years.
In this wake the provincial consultation was held by Blue Veins and Trans Action Alliance in collaboration with The Asia Foundation. This consultation tried to tap into multi stakeholders for provision of inputs for the proposed policy document. The event’s attendees included a great number of the trans community, lawyers, NGOs, media representatives, students, political activists, and many government department representatives.
Main focus of the consultation was to make progressive use of the measures taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for transgender community and thereby try and ensure that the rights they have been given by the honorary Court are delivered to them. The participants of the consultation pointed out that regardless of the Court’s orders transgender persons are still being treated as untouchables making continuing the vicious circle they are forever stuck in.
Social justice denial leads to economic and political justice denial, along with the poor access to healthcare, education, legal aid, lack of social acceptance and employment. This way continues the reinstating of the circle of doom for them in ever recurring wheels.
Special Initiatives for Transgender Community in KPK
Furthermore, the absence of trying to curb the stigma against transgender persons in schools, along with them being prone and vulnerable to discrimination and violence was also being discussed during this meeting.
Provision of medical assistance and services was also found lacking by the participants and also that most hospitals lack adequate skills to meet their medical needs. It was also stressed that the provincial government needs to address the most immediate issues such as fear, shame, social pressures, depression, suicidal tendencies, social stigmas plaguing the community.
Healthy Care Schemes for Transgender Community in KPK
KPK government has launched social health protection schemes to ensure protection of the trans community, informed the Minister of Information and Special assistance of Chief Minster KPK Mushtaq Ghani who also heads the CM committee on Transgender Rights. He also said transphobic behavior and discrimination against them will not be tolerated in the province and that it was high time these people should be given equal status of a Pakistan citizen.
President of the Trans Action Alliance Farzana Jan thanked the provincial government for the announcement of preparing the protection policy to safeguard the rights of the transgender persons. KPK government has also taken measure to ensure the delivery of services to the trans community in hospitals. After the Supreme Court decision laying out the possibilities for transgender rights in the country, the protection policy of KPK government will further ensure the protection of their right, said Farzana Jan.
Qamar Naseem of Blue Veins, also a member of CM’s committee on rights of Transgender community KPK and the drafting committee, said KPK has become the first in South Asia to provide a Transgender protection policy.
Another milestone in this respect was when officials of social welfare and health department distributed Sehat Insaf Cards amongst the transgender community, starting a new era of equality in availability of health care. The enrollment of this marginalized community in this particular healthcare program was a huge step in the direction of fighting combating the discrimination, stigmatization and marginalization of this community.
With this facility they like any other citizen will have access to health care packages that includes up to Rs. 540,000 free benefits per beneficiary per year. This cards opens up both public and private sector hospitals.
Other Initiatives Taken for Transgender Community in KPK
March 2018 brought another such milestone days in the lives of the KPK transgender community when for the first time in the history of the province members of the trans community were issued driving licenses. A total of 15 members were given their licenses in a ceremony held in Peshawar, where the SSP Traffic Yasir Khan Afridi distributed these licenses among them. Mr. Afridi also informed that a total of 300 transgender had applied for the license, and that the rest of the applications will be processed in the second phase of the scheme.
Election of July 2018 also saw the first ever transgender election candidate. Maria Khan is a 38-year-old transgender woman from Manshera who decided to run for national assembly as an independent candidate. Regardless, of a win or no win this election proved to stick down one more social stigma by allowing a transgender to run for a government post.
This year another “first ever” happened for transgender community in KPK. This time it was the sports department that stepped up to strike down social stigma and discrimination. A first ever sports festival was held for the trans community in Peshawar, where a notable number of members of the community took part in the festivities arranged specially for them.
The event included games such as cricket, tug of war, football, with instructors of the particular games being present. Members of the Quetta transgender community also participated appreciating the efforts made by the KPK government.
Read Also: Recent Sports Developments in KPK
Ensuring the protection of this marginalized community is still in its nascent stages, however, with the initiation of the Supreme Court and progressively followed by the KPK government things had already started to change for the better for members of this particular community.