Recent Scholarship: Redding on Transgender Rights in Pakistan

SHARIAsource South Asia editor Jeff Redding has written a paper on Muslim discussions on gender, law, and society discussing the rights of transgender people living in Pakistan, which constitutionally incorporates Islamic law into its state law system. The paper is due to appear as a book chapter in an edited volume called Human Rights in Translation: Intercultural Pathways (Michal Rozbicki ed., forthcoming).

“Transgender Rights in Pakistan?: Global, Colonial, and Islamic Perspectives”

This (forthcoming) chapter aims to help explain a recent set of extraordinary ‘transgender rights’ developments in Pakistan. Simultaneously, this chapter aims to both ask and answer the following question: Why transgender rights in Pakistan now? Moreover, in asking and helping answer this Pakistan-focused question, this chapter aims to raise questions about the origins of other ongoing transgender rights movements around the world, including the fundamental question as how to understand and inter-culturally translate these movements’ meanings and implications. The potential answers to these questions, like the questions themselves, are multiple, layered, and complex. The three different Parts of this chapter work systematically to provide three different epistemological perspectives on recent events in Pakistan, each of which is suggested by different aspects of these events. In short, this chapter’s three Parts provide 1) an understanding of how recent transgender developments in Pakistan might be comparatively situated with contemporaneous developments in India and the United States; 2) a brief account of recent Pakistani transgender developments in which contemporary Pakistan is understood as an active legatee of the British colonial empire and, finally, 3) a shorter and more speculative exploration of recent developments in Pakistan, seeing in them continuity with a set of longstanding Muslim discussions on gender, law, and society which differ (at least somewhat) from reigning Western discussions of these topics.

The paper is available here at SSRN.

Redding has also written for the SHARIAsourceBlog on the Orlando nightclub shooting and on sharīʿa “courts” in the West.