Pakistan will finally start counting transgender people in its census this year

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After a landmark ruling by the Lahore High Court, Pakistan will now include transgenders in its national census this March.

The 2017 census is the sixth for the country and comes after a long gap of 19 years.

The court's decision came after a petition was filed last November, which had called for the acknowledgement of Pakistan's marginalized transgender community, Reutersreported.

Meet members of Pakistan's transgender community:

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Transgender community in Pakistan
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Transgender community in Pakistan
Transgender Maria fixes her hair as housemates speak in the background at their home in Peshawar, Pakistan June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz
Bindia Rana, a transgender independent candidate for the upcoming elections, smiles during a pre-election analysis programme at the studio of a local television channel in Karachi April 23, 2013. Rana, 45, and a handful of others are the first of Pakistan's transgender "hijra" community - which includes transsexuals, transvestites and others - to register as candidates Pakistan's elections on May 11, 2013. She is a candidate for the Sindh provincial assembly from one of the city's constituencies. Picture taken April 23, 2013. To match story PAKISTAN-ELECTION/TRANSGENDER REUTERS/Insiya Syed (PAKISTAN - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS SOCIETY)
Bindia Rana (L), a transgender independent candidate for the upcoming elections, has her makeup applied by a makeup artist before a pre-election analysis programme at the studio of a local television channel in Karachi April 23, 2013. Rana, 45, and a handful of others are the first of Pakistan's transgender "hijra" community - which includes transsexuals, transvestites and others - to register as candidates Pakistan's elections on May 11, 2013. She is a candidate for the Sindh provincial assembly from one of the city's constituencies. Picture taken April 23, 2013. To match story PAKISTAN-ELECTION/TRANSGENDER REUTERS/Insiya Syed (PAKISTAN - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS SOCIETY MEDIA)
Bindia Rana (L), 41, an eunuch locally referred to as hijra, talks on the telephone next to a friend Rifee Khan, 34, at home in Karachi December 28, 2011. Orders went out from the Supreme Court to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to enrol eunuchs as voters, a development that accords the basic right to a much mistreated community, local media reported in November 2011. It is estimated there are between 80,000 and 300,000 members of the transgender community, locally referred to as hijras, in Pakistan. REUTERS/Insiya Syed (PAKISTAN - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS)
Pakistani transgenders light candles during a rally to raise awareness on World AIDS Day in Karachi on December 1, 2016. World AIDS Day is marked annually to raise awareness around HIV/AIDS and to persuade key decision makers around the globe to commit fudning towards HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. / AFP / ASIF HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)
LAHORE, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN - 2016/11/16: Pakistani Transgender community holding placards during protest against torturing a transgender in Sialkot, at outside Lahore Press Club as the prime suspect, Aijaz Alias Jajja, had allegedly stormed the house of a transgender, Phool, along with his accomplices a few days ago in sialkot. (Photo by Rana Sajid Hussain/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A Pakistani transgender puts on make-up ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival in Peshawar on July 5, 2016. Millions of Muslims around the world prepare to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr feast marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. / AFP / A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani eunuchs and their supporters protest in the wake of the killing of transgender female Alisha, in Lahore on May 28, 2016. Alisha, who was shot eight times earlier this week allegedly by a disgruntled customer, succumbed to her wounds at Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital on May 25. The 25-year-old's murder is the fifth reported case of violence against trans people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year. / AFP / ARIF ALI (Photo credit should read ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)
The term Hijra has been used in India and Pakistan to describe individuals belonging to the 'third gender' or inividuals whose gender role does not fit within a binary heterosexual scheme.
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While there are no official stats on the size of the third-gender population, estimates range from 80,000 to 500,000, with nearly 70,000 in the city of Karachi alone.

The transgender community in the country has welcomed the court's decision and has hoped for an "equal citizenship" status.

Earlier in 2012, Pakistan's Supreme Court had declared equal rights for the community, including their right to inherit property and assets. In 2011, transgenders had been granted the right to vote.

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Famous transgender activists
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Famous transgender activists
Actress Laverne Cox from the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black" arrives at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California U.S., September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
In this June 1, 2015 photo, a journalist looks at Vanity Fair's Twitter site with the Tweet about Caitlyn Jenner, who will be featured on the July cover of the magazine. Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender Olympic champion formerly known as Bruce, on Monday unveiled her new name and look in a sexy Vanity Fair cover shoot -- drawing widespread praise, including from the White House. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender campaigners -- and many well-wishers -- welcomed the high-profile debut, as did the 65-year-old Jenner's family, which includes the media-savvy celebrity Kardashian clan. 'I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self,' Jenner wrote in her first tweet after the magazine released the July cover photo by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. AFP PHOTO / MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Writer Janet Mock attends Marie Claire's Second-Annual New Guard Lunch at Hearst Tower on October 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Marie Claire)
Transgender former US Navy Seal Senior Chief Kristin Beck speaks during a conference entitled 'Perspectives on Transgender Military Service from Around the Globe' organized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Palm Center in Washington on October 20, 2014. Transgender military personnel from 18 countries who allow them to serve openly, gathered to talk about their experiences and discuss whether the US military could join them. It is estimated that more than 15, 000 transgender personnel currently serve in the US military, but policy requires their separation if they are discovered, according to the ACLU. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 07: Model Gigi Gorgeous attends the NYLON Young Hollywood Party presented by BCBGeneration at HYDE Sunset: Kitchen + Cocktails on May 7, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for NYLON)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Mixed martial artist Fallon Fox attends the 2013 Emery Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on November 13, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Model Lea T presents a creation by Teca by Helo Rocha during the 2016 Summer collections of the Sao Paulo Fashion Week in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
Jenna Talackova (R) arrives for a press conference in Los Angeles with her attorner Gloria Allred (out of frame) on April 3, 2012. Canada's Miss Universe pageant said it would allow the transgendered model to compete in its pageant as long as Canada recognizes her gender as a woman. Talackova was previously disqualified, she said, because she used to be male. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Director, writer and producer Lana Wachowski poses on arrival for the Los Angeles Premiere of the film 'Jupiter Ascending' in Hollywood, California on February 2, 2015. The film opens on February 6. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Caitlyn Jenner attends the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
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In a largely conservative society, such decisions are indeed laudable.

In the Indian sub-continent, Nepal, was the first in the world to count the third gender in its national census in 2011. India, too, did it in the same year.

Many developed countries do it differently still.

Hopefully soon!

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