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Pakistan passes transgender protections bill

[JURIST] Members of the Pakistan National Assembly voted to pass the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act [text, PDF] Tuesday, establishing transgender individuals as a protected class.

The law's purpose is "to provide for protection, relief, and rehabilitation of rights of the transgender persons and their welfare."

The new law recognizes a person's gender identity, prohibits discrimination and harassment in education, hiring and employment, and transportation, protects transgender persons' rights to inherit property, vote, and receive healthcare, and obligates the government to take steps to secure full and effective participation in society, including establishing protection centers and safe houses, separate prisons, and special vocational training programs.

Under the new law, citizens will be able to register according to their gender identity in obtaining a passport, drivers license, a national identity card, and other identification documentation.

The law defines gender identity as "a person's innermost and individual sense of self as male, female or a blend of both or neither; that can correspond or not to the sex assigned at birth."

The bill passed in Pakistan's Senate in March.

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