Lesbian, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LBTI) people in Pakistan are systematically marginalised. Consensual same-sex conduct is criminalised under Section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code; and continues to be prohibited as ‘sexual intercourse outside of marriage’ according to Section 4 of the Hudood Ordinance, and therefore, criminalised.
Before 2018, transgender people did not have legal recognition of their rights, but this changed after the introduction and adoption of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act. The Act allows transgender people to self-identify and bans discrimination and violence against them.
The Act wrongly defines intersex people within the definition of “transgender” and does not provide specific legal protections required for intersex people.
The CEDAW Committee’s Concluding Observations to Pakistan in 2013 did not contain any SOGIESC-focused recommendations. Pakistan received its first SOGIESC recommendations only in 2020. In the 75th Session and subsequent Concluding Observations, the Committee made references to only transgender and intersex people.
The Committee welcomed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, which recognises the right of persons to self-identify, and prohibits discrimination and harassment of transgender and intersex people.
The Committee expressed the concern about non-consensual surgery enforced upon intersex people to “correct their biological sex” and how this affects their access to justice.
There was also a recommendation using an intersectional lens on LBTI people who have disabilities leading to their institutionalisation and forced sterilisation and the Committee expressed concern on this.
The List of Issues did not contain any SOGIESC-specific recommendations, but a question about what measures have been taken to address the situation of disadvantaged women (a word that encompasses LBTI people within Committee’s recommendations). Pakistan’s response to LOI has an example of creating a reservation quota for trans people’s employment in a government department in Sindh. The last State party report was submitted in 2018 and contained no LBTI specific information.