Pakistan clerics back transgender marriage
FIFTY senior Pakistani clerics have issued a religious decree declaring that transgender people have full marriage, inheritance and funeral rights under 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” – or intersex – may not marry anyone.
It is currently impossible for transgender people to marry in Pakistan, where same-sex marriage remains punishable by life imprisonment and no “third gender” is recognised on official identity cards.
The fatwa also declared that any act intended to “humiliate, insult or tease” the community was “sinful” and that transgender persons should not be deprived of family inheritances, nor the right to be buried in Muslim ceremo- nies. Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat, the religious law organisation that issued the fatwa, is not a political organisation and its rulings are not legally binding. But the group wields influence due to its tens of thousands of followers across Pakistan.
Its statement was celebrated last night as a moment of good news for Pakistan’s marginalised transgenders, at a time when the community is increasingly being targeted in attacks.
Activists welcomed the fatwa and called on Pakistan’s government to codify it with binding legislation.