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Youth Voices: International Women Day 2019 #BalanceforBetter

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Sarim, 26 - Member of VISION Pakistan's Youth Council

Sarim, 26 – Member of VISION Pakistan’s Youth Council


Aggregate action and shared duty regarding driving a gender balanced world is vital. International Women’s Day is a worldwide day commending the social, financial and political accomplishments of women, including trans women.

Now when we talk about the Gender Balance and Equality in Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights programs, we need to pay extra attention to trans women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Reproductive health and rights –including the decision to have children or not–are basic rights regardless of gender identity, but gender identity is sometimes another barrier to accessing family planning services due to stigma and discrimination.

Family planning programs should address the unique needs of transgender people for reproduction and planning their families, including egg donation, gestational carriers, sperm donation, etc. I think the family planning needs of transgender people are an understudied but growing area of research. Sexual and gender minorities have family planning needs, both similar to and distinct from their exclusively heterosexual peers. In general, understandings of the distinct family planning needs for transgender people are limited and further research is needed, with particular attention to issues of overlapping health disparities related to status as sexual and gender minorities and other factors, such as race/ethnicity, that may add additional layers of stigma and discrimination. The barriers to overcome are fierce, and include not only lack of access to health services and insurance but also stigma and discrimination, harassment, violence, and violations of rights at every turn.

The SRHR of transgender individuals must be tended to with regard for the social, legitimate, historical, and political settings in which individuals are situated, with social, mental, medical, and lawful gender affirmation as a key need forming any mediation. Making the changes envisioned here is possible but it will require not only the advocacy, policy, programmatic and research directions presented here but also struggle and action locally, nationally, and globally. We can help empowering the transgender people with the knowledge and skills to advocate for their sexual and reproductive health & rights as these are important life decisions that shape their future and boosting a more Gender Balanced World.

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