Pakistan reassures medical aid for transgender people during the pandemic

A senior official in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, has reassured the transgender community that they will receive proper medical attention during the Covid-19 crisis.
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“We are committed to providing them [transgender persons] with all possible help,” official Iftikhar Shalwani said to various reporters according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). According to Shalwani, transgender people are part of Pakistani society and will not be left out.

As of now, Pakistan has over a thousand confirmed cases of people infected with the coronavirus. The official's commitment to the transgender community is important, as this community still faces discrimination on a regular basis in Pakistan. Also on a medical level. For example, in 2016, a hospital refused to treat a transgender activist who was shot.

However, Pakistan is relatively progressive when it comes to transgender rights. In 2018, Parliament passed a law that makes discrimination against trans persons illegal, and emphasizes their rights regarding medical care. 

Human Rights Watch emphasizes that, now that Shalwani has publicly pledged his commitment to the transgender community, the city government should act to make all health care related to Covid-19 accessible to all, without discrimination. The organization also calls on the government to create advertising campaigns to emphasize that everyone has the right to health care.

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