A religious decree by 50 top Pakistani clerics, declaring that transgender people have full marriage rights under Islamic law, has triggered shock waves among the members of the community, because they viewed marrying each other as sinful.
The members of the community threatened protest demonstrations across the country against the clerics, who issued the fatwa because they think marrying among people of their community is un-Islamic and a sinful act just like ‘gay marriage’.
They said that they could not claim inheritance rights since they are not living with their families and added that they must be issued Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs).
Talking to Pakistan Today, Pakistan Shemale Foundation President Almas Bobby said that people at large have misunderstood the nature of the fatwa, as even members of their own community were in great shock ever since the news appeared on media.
Almas Bobby said that she received a number of phone calls from people of her community threatening protest demonstrations against the clerics who issued the fatwa because they questioned how their marriage has been declared lawful.
She said that majority of the members of their community are illiterate and could not understand the exact wordings of the fatwa.
Bobby, however, said that she convinced the members of their community not to protest because the fatwa has nothing to do with the eunuchs, but it is for ‘zinkhay’ and ‘khusri’ who she said already tie the knot.
She further elaborated that ‘zinkhay’ are actually males that can have children, but they have developed habits just like the transgenders, but they are never accepted by eunuchs as members of their community.
Similarly, she said that ‘khusri’ are females that are living with their own families, but they could not produce children, which is why most of them got divorced.
She said that transgenders could not marry each others because there are only male transgenders and there are no female transgenders at all in their community.
It is currently impossible for transgenders to marry in Pakistan, where gay marriage remains punishable by life imprisonment, and no third gender is recognised on national identity cards.
The 50 top Pakistani clerics had issued a fatwa (religious decree) declaring that transgender people have full marriage, inheritance and funeral rights under the Islamic law.
The fatwa stated that a female-born transgender person having “visible signs of being a male” may marry a woman or a male-born transgender with “visible signs of being a female”, and vice versa. However, it ruled that a transgender person carrying ‘visible signs of both genders and intersex’ cannot marry anyone.
Lahore-based Tanzeem Ittehad-e-Ummat’s Muhammad Zia Ul Haq Naqshbandi, the based head of the religious law organisation that issued the fatwa, reportedly stated that parents who deprived their transgender sons or daughters of inheritances were ‘inviting the wrath of God’.
Tanzeem Ittehad-e-Ummat is not a political organisation, and its fatwas are not considered a legal binding, but the group wields influence thanks to its tens of thousands of followers across Pakistan.
The transgender community has been increasingly targeted with physical attacks.
Bobby said that people should reject hate crimes and violence against transgenders because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
She called on the clerics to clear the dust about the fatwa and clearly define it that it was about ‘zinkhay’ and ‘khusri’, and has nothing to do with transgenders, so as to end the confusion among the masses.
In 2012, the Supreme Court ordered for equal rights for transgender citizens, including the right to inherit property and assets, preceded a year earlier by the right to vote.