By M Zulqernain
Pakistan’s Punjab government has opened the first transgender public school here in the provincial capital in its bid to empower more trans persons in society.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Punjab government had set up three transgender schools in the province — Multan, Bahawalpur, and D.G Khan — to educate and teach skills to trans persons.
These institutes provide free education from primary to higher secondary classes while imparting skill training that includes stitching, cooking, and beauty make-up.
The Lahore school, which was opened on Wednesday, will work in two shifts where the first half will be dedicated to imparting mainstream education while the second half will focus on teaching technical skills.
“The Lahore’s school for transgender will work in two shifts. In the first, the students will be imparted education while in the second shift they will receive training in technical skills. The government will provide free books, uniforms, school bags, and pick and drop service,” said a statement by the Punjab School Education Department.
A total of 36 transgender persons have been enrolled so far in the school.
The statement further said the teachers at the school also belong to the transgender community while two consultants have been engaged to help the community understand their problems.
Punjab province has 64.4 per cent of the country’s transgender population with 6,709 people registered in the category.
However, Lahore and its adjoining areas alone, reportedly have a population of 30,000 transgender persons.
Access to education is the right of every Pakistanis but transgender persons face discrimination in the country and many of them struggle to find employment.
The country’s upper house — Senate — had unanimously approved a bill in 2018 for the protection of the rights of transgender people, empowering them to determine their own gender identity.