Lifestyle

Pakistan issues first passport with a transgender category

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan joined a handful of countries around the world after introducing a third gender category on passports and issuing a passport to a transgender person. 

Albeit, no official announcement was made with regard to this latest development but an alliance of transgender communities from 25 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) – Trans Action Pakistan – on its social media account divulged the move.

Farzana Jan, president of the alliance, has become the first transgender person in KP issued a passport encompassing third gender category.

The community alliance in its official social account said: “Another milestone achieved. After a long struggle we are able to make another change. Now the the Government of Pakistan is issuing Passports to transgender Community as separate category….Thank you Govt of Pakistan, Ministry of Interior and Passport authorities for listening to us.”

It is to be mentioned here that the Pakistani passport has a gender category with either ‘male’ or ‘female’ options. However, with this development another option has been added that is ‘X’ identity, representing the transgender community as a separate category.

Farzana after receiving the passport has said: “It is a good sign at international level as the country is now among very few countries with third gender category on passports. [However], countries like Saudi Arabia don’t consider our identity nor allow us entry in the country for Umrah or Hajj.”

She also confirmed receiving the NADRA CNIC with transgender identity as ‘X’. “It is a coincidence that I was amongst the first ones to receive the NADRA CNIC as well as passport with transgender category as X,” Farzana added.

The other countries with the transgender category on passports are India, Nepal, Germany and New Zealand. Interestingly, United States (US) is not one of them.

The Transgender community has remained the most neglected class in society in Pakistan. For the past few years civil society and other people have stepped forwards to fight for the rights of the transgender community. This addition of the Gender X category is being seen by many as the first step towards greater freedom of movement for the transgender community in Pakistan.

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