To be able to perform Hajj or Umrah is the ultimate aim of any Muslim’s life. This goal is irrespective of their caste, color, gender, ethnicity and social standing. It does not matter the kind of life one is leading, every Muslim dreams of going to visit the Kaaba.
Recently it was revealed that the transgenders from Pakistan are being prevented from performing Hajj or Umrah
According to reports, the entire problem revolves around the “X” on their identity cards and passports.
In June, this year the first gender neutral passport was issued allowing transgender people to identify as X on their passport
Moreover, In August laws were revised to facilitate transgenders to be able to register themselves in the NADRA database despite not having original documents after leaving their parents. They can now register will the help of their guardians or gurus. Also, for the first time this year, transgenders were counted in the census. The numbers showed a population of 10000 transgenders in Pakistan.
So this gender neutral “X” is what is problematic for the Saudi government
The officials of the Saudi embassy told the Express Tribune that they only consider applications which specify the gender of the applicant.
The official from the embassy said, “It does not matter whether or not the applicant is a transgender, but the passports that is presented must mention the gender as either male or female.”
Due to this emphasis on specifying the gender, a lot of transgenders have not been able to perform Hajj or Umrah.
Shakeel is a member of the transgender community who was supposed to perform Umrah with his Tablighi Jamaat this December. They were supposed to fly off on December 5 but he came to know that his application was rejected due to this “X” on his documents.
“I have been yearning to perform Umrah and to see the Holy Kaabah with my own eyes ever since I have joined the Tablighi Jamaat. But knowing that my visa application was turned down just because I am a transgender person has shocked me.” Ahmed told Tribune.
Several transgenders, due to the experiences of their fellows now are considering not getting the “X” stamped on their papers.
However, the problem is not just limited to the decision of the Saudi government. It extends to the Hajj application form of the government as well
The mandatory form which all applicants under the government sponsored scheme are expected to fill does not have a column accommodating transgenders. It only has a male and a female column.
“We have not yet received any directions from the government for including a third column in the Hajj form. Those with an ‘X’ on their CNICs or passports could not apply using this form.” told an official from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
This revelation has made Pakistanis extremely furious and they believe that it is extremely unfair to stop people from being able to perform their religious duties
Slowly and surely steps are being taken to include transgenders into the system. It is important for the authorities to realise that religion is also a very important aspect of their lives, hence it is about time they update their forms.
Let us know how you feel about this.
This Pakistani From Charsadda Just Became The First Person To Be Identified As Trans On Their Passport
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