PESHAWAR: In a historic first, Farzana Jan on Friday became the first citizen of Pakistan to carry a passport that allows its bearer to select a gender other than male or female.
The acknowledgement of members of the transgender community follows years of activism that forced the country’s legal system to recognise gender on the basis of self-identification.
The co-founder and president of TransAction Alliance had applied for an urgent passport. However, it took her more than six months to get the passport processed and include a separate column for people, who do not want to identify as male or female, to define themselves as ‘X’. The passport’s other particulars are the same as those of ordinary passports.
Transgenders: accepted on paper, not in practice
Farzana said she was first told by the authorities concerned that “it can’t be done because the entire National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) system would need to be updated”.
“But,” …