At least 50 clerics have issued a fatwa (religious decree) that marriage with a transgender person is now lawful in Pakistan, a media report said on Monday.
The fatwa, released on Sunday by the clerics affiliated with Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat, said a transgender person having “visible signs of being a male” may marry a woman or a transgender with “visible signs of being a female” and vice versa, Dawn online reported.
But, the fatwa added, a transgender person carrying “visible signs of both genders” may not marry anyone.
It declared that robbing transgender people of their share in inheritance was unlawful and that parents who deprive their transgender sons/daughters of inheritance were “inviting the wrath of God”.
The clerics called upon the government to take action against such parents.
The decree also dwelt upon societal attitudes towards transgenders. It went to the extent of terming ‘haraam’ any act intended to “humiliate, insult or tease” them.
The fatwa ended with a word on last rites, declaring that all funeral rituals for a transgender person will be the same as for any other Muslim man or woman.
Transgenders also referred to a khusra in Pakistan, reflects a group of people who enjoys the least amount of respect or rights in Pakistan. Due to the controversial nature and typical mindset of people, the subject of Transgender rights in Pakistan was not even discussed among the elites. Most people do not even consider them as a part of their community; massive rejections are often faced by transgenders in almost all the parts of Pakistan.
According to recent research studies conducted on transgenderism, approximately one out of 50 children are identified with a transgender tendency/ potential. In other words, about 2 percent population of Pakistan is affected by transgenderism.
Transgenders and LGBT community are considered as a sign of shame and disgrace in the Pakistani culture. Most of these individuals never get a chance to acquire education in the regular schools due to discriminatory treatment and disgusting attitude of fellow citizens.
In 2009, Supreme Court also passed the order of including the category of ‘third gender’ in the national identity card form. Transgenders in Pakistan were awarded the right to REGISTER as a third gender on their CNICs in 2012.
While their rights are guaranteed on paper, members of the transgender community say they do not have these rights in practice and provincial welfare departments have yet to implement the decision. Besides government, several non-government bodies are also taking an active interest in improving the quality of life in the transgender community.
This is perhaps the first initiative taken by the Pakistani Government to safeguard the transgender rights in Pakistan hoping to change the mindset of the people towards LGBT community.