Transgender Act: Religious or human rights issue?

"If you go through all the 21 points of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018, there is hardly any untoward thing, except the protection of the marginalized and depressed class"

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was, with the exception of three persons, unanimously passed by the National Assembly in May, 2018. In our national life, such occasions are once in a blue moon when unanimity is demonstrated; otherwise we are doomed to see discord and disagreement triggering chaos and disarray. Fortunately, when the parliament focused upon some issue, showing comprehensive concord, outside the parliament, the powers of doom and gloom, the unelected religious groups, opted to throw the spanner in the works. They could not stomach the concord shown in the parliament. In the event, they, in an attempt to show their muscle power, decided to trample it down at its budding stage.

If you go through all the 21 points of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018, there is hardly any untoward thing, except the protection of the marginalized and depressed class, giving them any excuse to rage a storm in the tea cup. There is no word in the entire Act endorsing the much feared gay marriages.

Besides dispensing the transgender persons with legal identity, this Act also safeguards them against discriminatory treatment and harassment, binding the government to some responsibilities. Examples include a third option in official documents like identity card, driving license or passport and special places in prisons or lockups, along with other kinds of protection or welfares that are the responsibility of the local government.

Likewise, they are given the right to education and inheritance, job, vote, public gathering, health, property et al. Not to mention the fact that according to our constitution, these are the rights which all the citizens of the state enjoy indiscriminately, but they, being a marginalized segment of our society, are deprived from birth to death. Therefore, the need of this act is understandable. Just as the case, it is not a religious issue but an exclusive effort to furnish human rights to a depressed class.

According to the clause 2, the matter is loaded due to the biased explanation of the transgender. As the term transgender means the change of gender, intersex gender is a child who is, by birth, neither male nor female. Because of unspecified gender identity, they are declared a eunuch. But as they grow up, their body structure develops some changes which help determine the tendency of chromosome abnormality. As far as transgender persons are concerned, they are like men or women but their sexual tendencies may be different. They may be bisexual, gay or lesbian as well. In most of the cases, medical tests can’t determine their sexual propensities or inclinations. For instance, if a seemingly male is medically examined, he will be determined as a man but he may have impulses of a woman. Or a woman in a medical test may be determined as woman but due to her innate and intrinsic hormones, her tendencies may be masculine. Despite being a woman, she may not be attracted towards men.

Who can possibly dare postmortem the ubiquitous well-known happenings in religious seminaries? Here the issue lies in the innate flaw or lapse in the creation of man. Human intrinsic impulses run on these lines. Should his or her inborn forfeiture result in life time punishment when it is not making of their own? Isn’t it their basic human right like men or women to go to NADRA and get their name registered in the column of transgender in accordance with their instinct, sexual impulse and proclivity? In the entire Transgender Act, there is no description of gay marriage. And which feather in the cap has a man to wear by registering himself as a transgender person? Nonetheless, it is every person’s fundamental right to live according to his natural bent.

Have some mercy, please don’t make fun of these unfortunate deprived and marginalized people, devastated by some disease or inborn lapse, and lash them with your self-minted religious interpretations. If you can’t sympathize with them, you should at least not look down upon them or hurt them with contemptuous behavior. Here hecklers are asked if a person, seemingly in religious getup, with proper apparel and beard, is offering prayers in a mosque but, in reality, he is an atheist, utterly shorn of faith, will you pronounce him to be a faithful on account of his apparent religiosity or, labeling him a hypocrite, repulse him to the community of infidels. Appearance is often deceptive. Human beings are not what they seem to be. If a person is apparently woman but intrinsically ‘she’ has the impulses driven by male hormones, and she likes to wear ‘male clothing’, why must one force her to look like women. If you think that a person is male but he pretends to be a woman, please think is there any credit for a man to be a woman? Is it a matter of pride? Does he win any medal by doing so?

As far as the question of dissatisfaction with God’s decision is concerned, let me ask you that when your beard turns white, why do you dye it instead of accepting God’s decision. When cataract falls in your eyes, why you, instead of bowing to God’s decision, get it removed through operation. The world is replete with myriads of issues; human sufferings know no bounds and people are dying with hunger and epidemics. If transgender persons are having an ordinary right of self-determination, it is their basic right. One can engage in political point scoring on some other issue and does not have to fly off the handle on this issue. Instead of laying thorns in others ways, one should mind their own business. The Council of Islamic Ideology should not take a U-Turn under this nefarious propaganda. Moreover, it is not the right of the Federal Shariah Court to rival the elected parliament. Honestly speaking, both of them are pointless institutions; they should be repudiated with immediate effect. Conversely, if their opinions carry weight, the government should repeal interest system, which is impossible. Therefore, these detractors opt to vent their fury on the weaker segment of the society like transgender persons.

Afzaal Rehan is a journalist, columnist, author, analyst and lawyer. He is the President Liberal Human Forum and former chairman of Arbitrary CouncilsSpeciality : 1- Pakistan's Politics and Political Parties 2- Comparative Study of Islam With other Religions 3-Critical Analysis of Religious, Political and Social Issues 4- Urdu literature specially comparative study of Ghalib and Iqbal, Sir Syed and Maududi 5- National and international affairs, issues of rural areas, local bodies, women and minorities 6- Islamic History, Ideology, Sects, Sharia and Family Laws 7- Muslim Extremism and Terrorism 8- Israel-Palestine Conflict 9- Indo-Pak relationsBooks : 1- اسلامی تہذیب بمقابلہ مغربی تہذیب ( حریف یا حلیف ؟) 2- جہاد یا دہشت گردی؟ 3- جمہوریت یا آمریت؟ 4- اعتدال پسندی یا انتہا پسندی؟

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