In Pakistan, fifty top Islamic clerics have issued a religious decree which supports transgender people can have full marriage, inheritance and funeral rights under Islamic law.
According to reports on Local and International Media, the new religious decree by Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat clerics, ruled that a transgender person having “visible signs of being a male” is allowed to marry a woman or another transgender with “visible signs of being a female.” Men are also allowed to marry transgenders who appear female.
More declarations says that any act intended to “humiliate, insult or tease” the community was “haraam” (sinful), and that transgender persons should not be deprived of family inheritances, nor the right to be buried in Muslim ceremonies.
It has been known that it is impossible for gay couples in Pakistan to marry, where gay marriage remains punishable by life imprisonment, and no “third gender” is recognised on official identity cards.
Therefore the head of clerics of the Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat religious law organisation said parents who deprived their transgender sons or daughters of inheritances were “inviting the wrath of God”. It is said that the Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat is not a political organisation, and its fatwas — as it is called — are not legally binding. But the group wields influence due to its tens of thousands of followers across Pakistan.
Its statement was celebrated as a rare moment of good news for Pakistan’s marginalised transgenders, at a time when the community is increasingly being targeted with physical attacks.
“This is the first time in history that Muslim clerics have raised their voices in support of the rights of transgender persons,” said Qamar Naseem, a transgender community activist. “But we have to go further for transgender people and the country needs to introduce legislation on it”.
With the outbreak of the news, more transgender activist in the country called upon their government to introduce a transgender option, along with male and female, on Pakistan’s official national identity cards. One of the transgender activist simply identified as Parveen said;
“I want to marry a male transgender, but to register a marriage I need a national identity card with mention of my gender, which is not available.
“I was kicked out from my family in my childhood. Now authorities are asking for my father’s card number for my ID, but my family refuse to even see my face.”