In a historic push for LGBTIQ+ rights, Pakistan just announced that members of the transgender community in the country will soon be able to join the police force.
On Monday, Dr. Syed Kaleem Imam, Inspector General of Police in Pakistan's Sindh province, said there will be a 5 percent quota for transgender individuals in the police workforce. This marks the first time such a decision has been announced in the Muslim-majority country.
Transgender individuals will only be eligible for one position, constables, which is the lowest rank among police officers. They will be offered "office jobs in the provincial police force," according to Dawn.
Transgender community representative Bindiya Rana welcomed the decision, saying it is essential to prevent discrimination against the community.
"The transgender community welcome the announcement of jobs being offered in Sindh police. We often see transgender persons reluctant to register an FIR [first information report] against harassment and violence they face because often at police stations they don't feel safe to talk to men police officers about such sensitive cases," Rana told Express Tribune.
Inspector General for Sukkur, Dr. Jamil Ahmed, added that the move is in line with the government's plan to give the transgender community their basic rights. This includes a push for employment opportunities in all sectors.
In Mar. 2018, Pakistan witnessed its first-ever transgender news anchor make an appearance on private television. Marvia Malik, a 21-year-old journalist, became the country's first-ever transgender woman to broadcast the news.
According to Pakistan's 2017 census, there is an estimated 10,000 individuals who identify as transgender, the first time the transgender community was included in the country's national census.
The country's Prime Minister Imran Khan has pushed for the rights of the transgender community over the years.
In 2017, the government issued its first passport with a transgender category.
In early 2018, Pakistan's Senate passed a bill to protect transgender people, guaranteeing individuals the right to determine their own gender identity.
The anti-discrimination law dubbed "Transgender Persons Act" guarantees trans individuals are given their basic rights. The law gives transgender individuals the right to obtain a driver's licenses and to "self-identify as male, female or a blend of both genders, and to have that identity registered on all official documents," as reported by Al Jazeera.
Despite the push for more rights, violence against trans community is still prevalent
In May 2018, a transgender woman was shot dead by a man who asked her for change for 1,000 rupee note ($7). When she told the man she does not have change, he shot her.
The woman was one of two transgender women invited to dance at a wedding in Northern Pakistan. According to Pink News, she was considered to be the 57th trans person to be killed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region since 2015.
In 2018, another transgender woman was abducted and brutally raped by nine men in Peshawar.