Pakistan opens first ward offering separate treatment for transgender patients

The specialist ward comes amid an ‘endemic’ of violence against Pakistan’s transgender community

A specialist hospital ward to offer treatment for transgender patients has opened in Pakistan.

The ward in capital city Islamabad will offer members of the transgender community free treatment with specialist doctors focussing on the treatment of transgender patients.

The ward’s inauguration follows a High Court ruling that public hospitals in Punjab province must provide separate facilities for transgender patients.

The court’s ruling came about due to the difficulties faced by members of Pakistan’s transgender community when they were seeking healthcare treatment.

First of its kind
A first of its kind in Pakistan, the ward was opened by Human Rights Minister Dr. Shireen Mazari alongside health minister, Aamir Mehmood Kiyani.

At the inauguration ceremony, Dr. Mazari spoke of the importance of protecting the human rights of the trans community, Ary News reported.

‘The government is taking indiscriminate measures to ensure human rights and provision of basic health facilities to all our citizens,’ she said.

‘This step of the establishment of a separate ward for transgender has been taken as part of Transgender Law 2018.’

High levels of violence
Though this year has seen progress for transgender rights in Pakistan, transphobic discrimination and violence remain rampant in the country.

In a major development, Pakistan’s National Assembly voted to pass the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017, which includes significant improvements on legal protections for transgender people and allows transgender people to ‘change’ their gender without approval from a medical board.

The country has also opened a school for transgender youths, and saw its first transgender woman hired as a newsreader for Kohinoor News.

However, Pakistan’s transgender population are widely targeted for violence.

Over 60 people have been killed in Pakistan this year, and over 500 have been killed since 2015.

Activists have warned about the dangers faced by the trans community face in Pakistan, and have called on the government to take urgent steps to address the ‘endemic’ of violence transgender Pakistanis are facing.

by Calum Stuart
Source – Gay Star News