Hassan Majeed (MD)

Hassan Majeed MD

The author is working as a child and adolescent psychiatry fellow at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, NY. He is a marathon runner and his interests include art, culture, travel, gender, human rights, mental health, and education. He tweets @HassanMajeedMD (twitter.com/HassanMajeedMD)

Pakistan issues its first gender-neutral passport – what’s that, America? You still haven’t?

In an unprecedented move, the government of Pakistan issued a gender-neutral passport to a transgender activist, Farzana Jan. In an interview after receiving the passport that marks the gender as “X”, Jan said, “I am so happy to be recognised by the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports that I am a human and have a gender other than male and female.” Jan is an activist for the rights of gender minorities and a co-founder and president of an advocacy group, Trans Action Pakistan. The group works for the rights of gender non-conformists, such as eunuchs, transgenders and transvestites. Hate crimes against ...

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I am a Muslim immigrant and I feel safe in Trump’s America

On the chilly January day when President Trump took his oath as the 45th president of the United States, I was filled with mixed emotions of excitement and uncertainty. Generally, minorities, particularly Latino and Muslim immigrants, are especially concerned because of statements President Trump made against them during his campaign but I believe that I am safe and secure in Trump’s America. I got several phone calls and text messages from family members and friends in Pakistan who were worried about my future in the US. I particularly remember the screen of my phone becoming bright and reading a message from ...

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Pakistan’s unfortunate Olympics journey

The summer Olympic Games finished after 16 days of festivity and competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Two hundred and five participating nations competed in 306 events and 86 countries and two independent athletes won at least one medal.  Unfortunately, but as expected, Pakistan did not appear on the winning stand – just as they hadn’t in the previous six Olympics, stretching the medal drought to 24 years. To add insult to injury, it can be pointed out that once again, Pakistan remains the most populated nation on earth not to win any medal in the Olympics. Ironically, the day following the wrap of the ...

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I fell in love with Pakistani art in New York City

Pakistan has once again made headlines in New York City, but this time it’s for a good reason. Go Figureis a group show of young aspiring artists from Pakistan, showcased at Aicon Art Gallery in the East Village area of the city. The prospect of meeting Pakistani artists and art lovers in the city kept me excited for days before the inauguration. The show was exceptionally well curated, displaying highly imaginative illustrative, graphic and sensual work. Photo: Hassan Majeed Photo: Hassan Majeed On the opening night of art shows in New York, art-loving crowds ...

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Would you like to have a child who is intelligent, athletic, good looking and genetically modified?

Would you like to have a child who is intelligent, athletic, good looking, and musically gifted? Designer babies are now possible as genetic enhancement projects are getting underway in China. Most Western countries are studying the development; with the exception of the United States, genetic modification of germline human cells is on hold. I remember when I was young, the first in-vitro fertilisation child born in Pakistan created a moral debate. For months, all across the country, people kept asking questions about the legitimacy of the IVF child. There was a strong resistance from conservatives which has disappeared; it is ...

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Is it ethical for doctors to accept gifts from big pharmaceutical companies?

A little over a decade ago, as a new and idealistic intern at Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, I was determined to put the patients first at this important juncture of my professional life. I was warmly greeted, to my surprise, by pharmaceutical representatives who were trying to increase sales of their medications. In the next few months, there was a weekly educational lecture given by a pharmaceutical company representative followed by a free lunch. The company selected the medication they wanted to promote in these sessions; physicians picked the menu. I realise, looking back, that my practice of medicine was very ...

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It’s about time we talk about suicide

A few months ago, I received a frantic phone call from a friend. He told me his 11-year-old son tried to hang himself. This was not the first time; he had made similar attempts in the past, and also had a history of harming himself. Luckily, the parents had intervened just in time and saved him before it was too late. The father consulted me over the phone – he was broken, and was desperately in search of an answer. He wanted to devise a plan of action that could save his child from further attempts. After many possible interventions, we drafted ...

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The ugly truth about Muslims in New York

Recently, when I took the subway in New York my heart skipped a beat when I saw a poster that showed the Empire State Building on one side and on the other it said, in bold print, “The ugly truth about Muslims”. Below this, in fine print it continued, “Muslims have great frittata recipes.” My expression changed from shock to a wide smile. Photo: AP New York’s subway stations are flooded with “The Muslims Are Coming” advertisements designed to shock and thereby catch the attention of millions of commuters. Other posters indicate that Muslim-invented coffee, algebra and ...

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Why did the doctors of Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital refuse to treat a transgender patient?

Recently, in Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, a victim of a gunshot wound was left unattended for three hours. The patient was critically injured and the doctors refused to administer treatment. Moreover, the hospital staff was callous and impertinent. The victim’s name was Adnan. The whole incident sounds unreasonable, doesn’t it? Why would the doctors refuse to touch a patient? Why would the hospital staff point and laugh at a dying person? Well, Adnan is a transgender person. The entire transgender community in Pakistan has had to endure repeated verbal, physical and sexual abuse. I felt particularly sorry when I learned my medical peers were involved in an act ...

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The loving humanitarian efforts of an American in Pakistan

Due to frequent media images of violent anti-American protests as well as repeated travel-safety warnings from the State Department, most Americans avoid visiting Pakistan. However, Todd Shea, the founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), has adopted Pakistan as his home and is running several welfare projects there. I learnt about Todd Shea on Facebook several months ago when I was browsing through a list of ‘People you may know’. Pleasantly surprised to learn about the humanitarian work he was doing in Pakistan, I began to closely follow CDRS activities on social media. The 2005 earthquake and the great need to help its victims brought Shea to ...

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