LAHORE – The transgender community has rejected the figures of transgender population revealed in the latest census carried out earlier this year by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistic (PBS), calling the data inaccurate and misleading.
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The country’s total population of transgender people reported in the sixth Population and Housing Census is 10,418.
The second highest population of transgender people is in Sindh — 2,527 or 24pc. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa houses 913 transgender people and Balochistan 109.
While talking to Daily Pakistan, trans rights activist Kami Sid claimed that according to an estimate, there are more than 3 million transgender persons across Pakistan, with almost 20,000 transgender persons registered in Lahore-based trans rights organization NAZ.
She said that the procedure of counting transgender people was overtly flawed. “Who have they counted?” Kami asked, adding the identification of transgender is still disputed.
Kami said the majority of transgender persons who prefer to remain in the closet were not even counted while many of them were counted as males.
Lahore-based transgender activist Neeli Rana also expressed reservations over the procedure adopted by the census teams for counting transgender people – an exercise conducted for the first time in the history of Pakistan.
She said many transgender persons had complained that the census staff did not visit their homes or refuse to count them because they did not have CNICs.
“I know many aged transgender persons who were counted as males while many did not even register themselves as their parents did not allow them to do so,” Neeli told Daily Pakistan.
Neeli said that the community had demanded the government seek the assistance of Gurus in the counting procedure. “Gurus could include all their disciples and provide their data”.
“According to my research, there are more 30,000 transgender people in Lahore region alone including Kasur, Shekhupura and Manga Mandi,” Neeli added.
Shilpa Sanam, a trans man also known as Fahimo, claims that 500 to 600 transgender people are living in Bari Imam, Nurpur Shahan, on the outskirts of the capital.
“If the census teams had approached me, I would have let them meet hundreds of transgender people living in this area,” said Sanam who not counted by a census team as transgender because according to the CNIC, he is a male.
“Though I am a transgender, I was counted as a male in the national census,” complained Sanam.
On the order of the Supreme Court, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) included separate codes for disabled and transgender people in the census, which was conducted this year after a lapse of over 18 years.
Previously, no option was available for the transgender people and they were forced to mark themselves as those with disabilities.