The word ‘Transgender” has always had a great stigma surrounding it. However, this was not always the case. For centuries Transgenders kept a position of great power in the courts of the Mughal empire. Transgenders were revered in the subcontinent before the colonization of the British Empire.  They held a position of great power and amassed tons of wealth. They were not only appointed as custodians of the harem but also rose to ranks in the military. They also held influence in the court as royal advisors. This all drastically changed with the influence of the British Empire. They introduced the Criminal Tribes Act (CTC) which required all transgenders classified as eunuchs to be registered and controlled.
Under the CTC, wearing female clothing was a punishable offence for men. According to this law, “any eunuch … who appears, dressed or ornamented like a woman, in a public street or place, or in any other place, with the intention of being seen from a public street or place, or who dances or plays music, or takes part in any public exhibition” could be sentenced to up to two years of imprisonment plus a fine. Moreover, the CTC criminalized “all persons of the male sex who admit themselves or on medical inspection clearly appear to be impotent”. 
According to the British law, there were only two genders and they criminalized transgenders. This led transgenders into an era of poverty and criminalization. Transgenders were shunned and it was enforced on them to register themselves for surveillance and control under the rule of the British empire. They were further degraded by being referred to as eunuchs in all legal and formal texts. By the legal definition provided by the British Law implemented in the subcontinent eunuchs were defined as “any male individual who admitted themselves or on medical examination as impotent”. The Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 also stated that transgenders could be arrested in their homes without a warrant if they were thought to be violating any laws. However, the stigma created by the British rule has remained firmly ingrained in the penal code of Pakistan as well. During the era of General Ayub he bought forth the Criminal Tribes Act in 1960 banning Hijra activities. An act that is in effect even today.
Gender Identity is perhaps the most important sense of identification a person can have and for years transgenders were stripped of their rights to identify by their own gender instead being forced to conform to traditional genders and leaving their own identity behind. This has led to gender identity crisis among transgenders creating a lasting psychological impact which not only affects a waning social life but also majorly impacts the individual’s self esteem and gives the individual a sense of alienation.  The Pakistani government realized that there was a need to lawfully give transgenders their rights and their identity back after years of oppression and mistreatment. Pakistan became the first Asian Muslim country to formally identify transgenders and legally acknowledge their place as a third gender. Pakistan is one of the few countries to have legalized this and shows the progress the government has made to provide transgenders with their basic rights and unknot the years of systematic oppression done against them.  Pakistan’s Supreme court made the ruling that gave transgenders their recognition and identity as the third gender in 2009. This bought forth a wave of change in the Pakistani community as well. Transgenders were further empowered and given their basic rights to run for government in 2011 when the Supreme Court presented its ruling that the Transgender community would be allowed to vote. This decision was implemented in 2012 with history being made in 2013 when several transgender candidates ran for a seat in the office in the 2013 General Elections of Pakistan. 
These laws gave the transgender community a blanket of legal protection in Pakistan as well. The transgender community was at last given formal recognition, their legal status as the citizens of Pakistan and the protection of the government and the police force which is the basic right of each citizen of Pakistan. With the transgender community now being given the right of being identified as their own third gender, they fall under the umbrella of equality among citizens according to the Constitution of Pakistan. The Supreme court banned the discrimination of transgenders based on their sex. With the official ruling of the supreme court made in December 2009, NADRA introduced three categories Khansa, Male and Female to facilitate the transgender community into obtaining their CNICs. Pakistan has made leaps of progress to help assimilate the transgender community into the society and elevate them from the status of beggars the rest of the community sees them as. The media industry is also aiming to change the attitude of the Pakistani community by introducing documentaries and movies such as Bol and Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open secret.
This progress does not take away the fact that the transgender community is still facing an uphill battle regarding being identified as an official citizen of Pakistan and being given their due rights. Since the birth and upbringing of a transgender is still highly stigmatized, many families tend to throw out their kids or treat them with such cruelty that they run away. Many transgenders do not even know their biological families and have been bought up on the streets or by the transgender community. This has led to many transgenders still not possessing CNIC as NADRA refuses to facilitate transgenders with biological parents or those individuals who can provide adoption documentation.  The lack of proper identification inconveniences the transgender community even now as they do not have a legal right to basic civil rights of the free National Heath program.
Even while the government of Pakistan is working to have transgenders officially recognized by their own gender, most transgenders are unwilling to have their passport of CNIC stamped with an ‘X’ in the gender column indicating the formal representation of transgenders. While Islam itself has recognized transgenders and given all Muslims the same rights, Saudia Arabia issued a decree banning transgenders from performing the holy pilgrimage of “Hajj” and “Umrah”. Since this decree many transgenders are reluctant from getting their CNIC and passports stamped with “X”. This injustice against the transgender community is hindering the progressive change in Pakistan. When the choice comes between religion and rights, many are stuck at a conundrum with no clarity on which path to choose. 
There is a lot of progress being made to eliminate the years of oppression against transgenders. Shunned by society, the Pakistani transgender community are forced into prostitution, begging and dancing to support themselves. They are still victims of police brutality and being treated as lesser human beings. The transgender community is reluctant to report any crimes done against them out of fear that they would face retaliation from the police. The transgender community still faces great discrimination from the healthcare community whose individuals refuse treatment for the transgender community. Laws help, but without a radical change in the treatment of the transgender community no significance progress can be made. 
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