Transcript of "Transgenders__a dilemma of being less human"
Transgender- a dilemma of being Less Human
Gender Discrimination: Prevention and Remedies
Law Asia; Employment Law Conference, 23-24 May, Siem Reap, Cambodia
amer nadeem (Pakistan)
History of law is as old as the human is. Before the advent of modern era &
democratic values the laws were structured to protect the power elites.
Whether it’s the king, the religious monarchy, a community or else reining
the sceptre of power; laws were their home maid. The gender was no
exception. Male throughout the history holds the command of almost all
times, so the law is. Even in modern legal books the word “HE” connotes
both male & female, as General Clauses Act of many countries & other
statutes provides, but not vice versa. Male domination resulted the male
orientation in the legal arena. However, thanks to human rights values &
modern awareness that endeavours to balance the gender discrimination is
on the way. The women have proved their strength being equated with their
opposite sex. Women emancipation movements have paved the way for
elimination of discretionary laws. Today, constitutions of almost all
countries speak that no law emanating the gender discrimination shall be
passed. Resultantly, at least in legal books, the gender discrimination has
been avoided. Is it the closing stage?
No, it’s just a beginning. There is a third one; transgender. It’s a missing link
in the history & law, too.
2. Gender; a Lexical predicament;
The term “Gender” is always taken as “male & female”, as the prevalent
definition is. World Health Organization (WHO) differentiates the term
“sex” & “gender” as;
"Sex" refers to the biological and physiological characteristics
that define men and women. &
"Gender" refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours,
activities, and attributes that a given society considers
appropriate for men and women.
Lexical experts also find no exceptions, for instance the Oxford defines the
“ [mass noun] the state of being male or female (typically used
with reference to social and cultural differences rather than
Same is with legal definitions prevailing in world like Pakistan Penal Code,
1860, Indian Penal Code 1860, Malaysia Act 574 Penal Code defines the
“S. 8. The pronoun “he” and its derivatives are used of any
person, whether male or female.”
The General Clauses Act, 1897 have the same connotation wherein,
“13. Gender and number.- In all 3[ Central Acts] and
Regulations, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or
context,-(1) words importing the masculine gender shall be taken to
The situation is identical in all countries of the world where the “Gender” is
taken as male & female. So much so, in Europe, the law relating to sex
discrimination is heavily influenced by European Union law. Article 141 of
the Treaty of Rome provides ;
‘‘Each Member State shall ensure that the principle of equal
pay for male and female workers for work of equal value is
That’s really great to protect & elaborate the rights of both sexes, but at the
same time it’s apathetic to overlook the third sex. Being weak & without
power, the transgender are missing from the commandments of law as once
the woman was. Why gender means only male & female? Why transgender
are overlooked? Are they human? If yes, then we have to revisit the
definition of the “Gender” to include the transgender.
3. Problem analysis;
Transgender are looking for acknowledgment of their entity. They are rather
stigma not only in socio-economic terms but in the legal, too. Only male &
female are taken as gender. Transgender are ousted from the definition of
human. They are not part of the gender. Its root of all problems; identity
crisis. As per a legal maxim, “where there is a right there is a remedy”. In the
case of transgender they have no right as neither they are male nor female.
So their remedy is also questionable. Even, they can’t claim as subject to
gender discrimination as they are alien to the term gender. In fact,
transgender are entity without identity. They are not only out of the term
gender or legal sphere but from the world’s conscious. Reason is obvious, our
world is reluctant to acknowledge the transgender as human & their legal
Out of Population census;
Though in less numbers yet transgender aren’t less human. How many they
are? Exact figure is not there, various studies though on small scale, reveals
different numbers, however they are estimated between .5 to 1% of the
population. In an era, when a tiny subject on the road can be traced from
space, we are unable to have, even a roundabout, figure of one of our gender
specie. Reason is obvious, they in most of the countries, are not in gender
column of the national census. In the relevant form for the population
census, only male or female option is given. No choice for the transgender
but to be male or female. End result is evident that they are out of the
census. Without knowing population of a specific gender community how
legal rights, job opportunities, health care & other utilities can be measured?
Transgender, not only in identity crisis but in population census pickle, too.
Like any human, in order to live safe, full, and authentic lives, it is essential
that transgender people have access to identity documents, such as national
ID, that accurately reflect their name, gender identity, and gender
expression. However, one should not surprise to know that there is rare
mechanism for such a process for getting such document. Same is with birth
certificate, domicile, school certificate, driving license & other necessary
documents because one has to be either male or female. No column or entry
for the transgender. They opted to be aloof from the process as being social
compulsions or fear of mockery. Here once again, one can find the root cause
being missed from the books of law.
Family & inheritance rights;
Like a normal human being the transgender have the right to create a family
through biological or other means. Right to be connected with their loved
ones is inalienable right. Because legal family relationships are often tied to a
person’s legal gender. The transgender people often face legal problems with
respect to parents, foster care, adopt children, parents adoption, domestic
partnership etc. In many countries, laws are mum on such scenario. Same is
with inheritance & property matters, how much share a transgender would
inherit? What would be bequeathed rights of a transgender? The law is rare
to answer. Being a human, transgender should have all rights as other sexes
Being transgender, they often discriminated during the immigration process.
Transgender immigrants face unique and sometimes daunting barriers trying
to obtain documentation that matches their gender identity. They may also
experience challenges when applying for visas, asylum or other hardshipbased status. Lack of adequate laws & rules prevents them to go through the
process as smooth as male or female are.
Criminal justice & Prison;
Absences of any legal rights or protection the transgender have to go
through an ordeal during criminal justice system. From investigation to trial
process transgender people face bias, discrimination & problems. In the jail
like any inmate they deserve lives free from violence, with the opportunity
to live as their authentic selves. Transgender people face heightened levels of
violence and vulnerability when they are incarcerated, experiencing
harassment and danger throughout the system. This puts their lives and
well-being in serious jeopardy.
In addition, the discrimination that transgender people face in the workplace
often creates serious economic hardships. Some transgender people engage in
sex work, drug sales or other aspects of the street economy in order to
survive. This puts them at a higher risk of arrest and imprisonment. Some
transgender people have also been arrested simply because they are
transgender because of prejudice on the part of a police officer who believes
that all transgender people are engaged in illegal work.
Pejorative & abusive connotation;
Laws are lacking on gender specific pejorative terms, intimidation, harm
another person because of their gender. Off course, transgender are victim of
this inhuman, abusive & obscene language. Some words are specific for
transgender, including "tranny", "she-male" or "he-she". Many countries
laws prohibits discrimination in employment based on sex, yet the sex is
taken as male & female. The ordeal of the transgender could be averted with
stern defamatory & innuendo laws with specific reference to transgender.
Housing & public accommodation;
Though various statutes protects entry of the citizens at public places
yet transgender faces hurdles on account of their gender. Any place
that provides goods and services to the general public is considered a
public accommodation. This includes restaurants, grocery stores,
health clinics, hospitals, health clubs, homeless shelters and most
social services. Transgender and gender nonconforming people often
experience discrimination in their communities when accessing public
accommodations including being refused service, being treated
differently than their non-transgender peers, or being victims to
harmful verbal and physical violence when simply trying to carry out
their daily activities. Seclude places to live for transgender can’t be
recommended yet special care & legislation are needed regarding their
housing & public places access rights.
Discrimination is a major contributor to the tremendously high rates
of unemployment and underemployment faced by transgender people.
Sometime they are refused for the employment on the basis of their
gender. In certain case, transgender are unable to get job as lacking of
their quota, as in most countries specific jobs are allocated for specific
sex or on quota system with certain ratio of male & female. But there
is no concept of quota or specific jobs for transgender. Even if they are
on job, the harassment, sexual assault & abusive language are there to
tease them. Often difficult for the administration to treat them as male
or female as specific legislation for transgender is missing in
Transgender people, like all people, deserve skilled and compassionate
health care. Knowledgeable care can mean the difference between life and
death for members of our community. Improving transgender access to
the health care system through changes in law, policy and attitudes
should be a top priority for the world. From cradle to grave they face
discrimination. A child born as TG does not have any “special”
protection mechanism available to them from government/hospital/health
care units level & they are at the mercy of their parents/family. Many
infant transgender are killed without remorse due to the shame or stigma
attached. Medical science speaks a volume that much can be done in early
days in terms of surgery, re-assignment & medication to avoid
complication in the coming age.
XI. Youth uplift;
Young people who are perceived as gender nonconforming, or who
identify as trans or gender queer, regularly face harassment and abuse at
school, in group homes, and other settings.
Schools and other
institutions, parents etc are needed to sensitize through legislation &
other modes about their legal obligations or best practices with respect to
trans or gender variant youth. Transgender need to equate the challenges
that arise when a young person is transitioning, including accessing
medical care like puberty blockers or hormones, filing for a legal name or
gender change, and making sure that the school/institution
the student’s gender identity. In short what a trans youth is missing; his
identity needs to bestow through legislation or conventions.
4. Pakistan Supreme Court on Transgender (a study case);
Like many developing countries transgender in Pakistan were no more in
socio-legal arena. They were just to appease the gathering through their
dances, singing, sex gesture, sometime drug taking etc. Concept of their
CNIC (computerized national identity card) or other national documents
was naïve in the land. Same was with right of vote, even their registration
as voter was rare or almost nil. No concept of family rights or inheritance,
Then, it was the year 2012, when Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo
moto notice on apathetic living of the transgender. After thorough
hearing of the stake-holders SC held;
• TG have equal rights in all the fields of life including
education, employment in a dignified manner as other
citizens have. They can’t be denied merely on the basis of
• Government was ordered to inculcate third column in
“male/female” & bring them into the national data base.
• Election commission was ordered for a vigorous enrolment
campaign for transgender voter, make sure their votes &
TG were allowed to contest the elections at any level.
• Government was order to create jobs for TG in Govt &
• TG have inheritance & family rights, they can’t be
deprived of their legal inheritance rights mere as bring TG,
Government was ordered to make laws & rules to protect
This decision proved landmark judgment in the history of Pakistan, after the
SC judgment, the situation is rather improved as;
• TG are in Govt, sami-Govt & bank jobs esp in recovery wings.
A large no of CNIC issued to TG & their votes are registerd registered.
• Ist time in the history of Pakistan, 5 TG are contested General
• Above all sense of “entity” is there. Though a lot is yet to be done.
5. Objectives & Hypotheses;
The world needs to sensitize that the transgender are as human as male &
female are. Without adding transgender in the definition of the “Gender”,
the gender concept can’t be completed. It’s identity crisis syndrome which
transgender are facing. Its sheer discrimination not to treat TG as the
Gender. World bodies esp UNESCO & countries are to be lobbied to make
laws for the transgender & weed out the gender discrimination.