After a landmark ruling by the Lahore High Court, Pakistan will now include transgender people in its national census this March.
The 2017 census is the sixth for the country and comes after a long gap of 19 years.
The court’s decision came after a petition was filed last November, which had called for the acknowledgement of Pakistan’s marginalized transgender community, Reuters reported.
While there are no official stats on the size of the third-gender population, estimates range from 80,000 to 500,000, with nearly 70,000 in the city of Karachi alone.
The transgender community in the country has welcomed the court’s decision and has hoped for an “equal citizenship” status.
Earlier in 2012, Pakistan’s Supreme Court had declared equal rights for the community, including their right to inherit property and assets. In 2011, trans people had been granted the right to vote.
In a largely conservative society, such decisions are indeed laudable.
In the Indian sub-continent, Nepal, was the first in the world to count the third gender in its national census in 2011. India, too, did it in the same year.
Many developed countries do it differently still.
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