In the run up to the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) which is celebrated worldwide on May 17th each year, the Ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Jean-François Cautain, High Commissioner of Canada, H.E. Mr Perry John Calderwood, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Ms Ardi Stoios Braken and Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain, H.E. Mr Carlos Morales organised a reception and a screening of the Canadian documentary "Girl Inside" by Red Queen Productions on 14th May, 2018 at the EU Ambassadors Residence. The documentary is a moving and intimate portrait of 26-year-old Madison as she transitions over three years from male to female, tracking her emotional, spiritual and physical journey of self-discovery. This was followed by a Skype session with Ms Madison and the audience. A number of diplomats, members of civil society, media representatives and members of the local transgender community attended the screening.
The event was also an occasion to celebrate Pakistan's parliament passing a landmark bill on 8th May that gives the country's transgender citizens fundamental rights. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act allows people to choose their gender and to have that identity recognized on official documents, including national IDs, passports and driver's licenses. The bill also prohibits discrimination in schools, at work, on public modes of transit and while receiving medical care. The measure also says that transgender people cannot be deprived of the right to vote or run for office. It lays out their rights to inheritance, in accordance with their chosen gender. And it obligates the government to establish "Protection Centers and Safe Houses" — along with separate prisons, jails or places of confinement. The European Union welcomes the debate about this recently-passed legislation on transgender rights. We applaud community members, activists, and politicians who raised their voices in this debate. It is healthy and constructive. It is a commendable and a genuinely democratic action.