Stories about transgender

Dear Saudi, their only crime was being born transgender, and that’s not a crime at all

Amna, a 35-year-old from the Mingora part of Swat and 26-year-old Meeno from Peshawar were killed in Saudi Arabia this week in police custody. The death of any prisoner at the hands of law enforcement is already disturbing as it is, but these two were allegedly tortured to death. Alongside 33 others, they were arrested, placed inside sacks, and beaten, and beaten, and then beaten some more until the two succumbed to their injuries. Imagine being helpless, alone, inside a dark claustrophobic sack, and struck on the body and head with canes and kicks until dying painfully. There is very ...

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Presenting, Pakistan’s Social Media Awards for 2016!

Nobody does crazy like Pakistan. In 2016, the world lost their collective cool and Pakistan was put on the crazy back burner. But that does not mean we didn’t have our moments. It is time to acknowledge those moments. The strangest out of all the weird stories, the most real-fake news, as well as the funniest – let’s honour the best. Presenting, the Social Media Awards for 2016! From sacrificing goats before flying planes to kabootar agents, from stationary dharnas to mankind’s angels, from chai walas to Momina; these are my favourite stories from last year. The time for politics is over; we are in the age of the celebrity – Donald Trump is president. The victor of the 2018 ...

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“We’re begging, it’s not like we’re stealing”

“Even if we’re begging, it’s not as if we’re stealing or looting.” These were the hard hitting words of the signature beggar in my film Beggars of Lahore. The film was shot in the Summer of 2005, initially as part of an MPhil thesis, the interest for which arose out of my hybrid origin as a British Pakistani trying to come to terms with the intense scale of begging within the walled city and cultural hub of Pakistan, that is Lahore. I, too, couldn’t understand why people scorned upon the beggars so much for merely pleading poverty. I later ...

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Being a Lady 101: Don’t sit like that, don’t wear makeup, don’t play sports

In our part of the world, our society comes equipped with a ‘sorting hat’ of sorts. When a girl is born, the hat is placed on her head and she is given an instant identity of a daughter, niece or a sister. As she grows older the identity keeps evolving; she becomes a wife, a mother, a grandmother and then she dies. Of course men are also handed the same titles too, a son, a brother, a husband etc. However in more cases than not, it is not what gives them their identity. An alcoholic husband who beats his wife ...

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The transgender community doesn’t need Rs200 million, it needs a change in mind-set

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government allocated Rs200 million for the transgender community while announcing their provincial budget. Thank you, your effort is much appreciated. But the main question is; will Rs200 million be the solution to the on-going problems they face? Is it going to remove the social stigma attached to them? How about passing a law against those individuals who treat transgender people with utmost scorn and brutality? Most importantly, how long will it take you to give them their due rights as equal citizens of Pakistan? Back in 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued a judgment stating transgender individuals ...

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Aashi: The struggle of a transgender in a man’s world

Honour is taken as the sole prerogative of men in Pakistan; but a transgender managed to set a higher example of self-respect and honour in our narrow minded society. Aashi, a 45-year-old transgender from Lahore is struggling against all odds in order to support her family by herself. Her family consists of an elderly mother and a bedridden brother. Aashi makes a living by working as a tailor but things were not always like this. Aashi, a 45-year-old transgender from Lahore is struggling against all odds in order to support his family by himself. When she was born, her family accepted her ...

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How NCA broke societal barriers by redefining transgender roles in Pakistan

The arts being an unconventional career choice in a society that still views the holy trinity of business, medicine and engineering as the only acceptable professions, artists are more attuned to the plight of those struggling against stereotypical expectations. Perhaps that is why the recent initiative taken by the National College of Arts (NCA), Rawalpindi, to employ members of the transgender community at the college, has been received with such warmth by students and faculty alike. People are recognised in society by their professions. Pursuing the career of your choice can be a priority over a vocation with better financial remuneration. Veena, a ...

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Orange Is the New Black: Changing perceptions and clearing misconceptions

In the last two years, Orange Is the New Black has proven to be one of the most multi-faceted and diverse shows of this decade. It is a blend between a harsh reality, a cruel joke, and a fit of absolute hilarity. Around 80 per cent of the show is set at a Federal Women’s prison in New York. The show, based on a book of the same title, highlights a crude and in-your-face sense what life for the female inmates is like. What makes it interesting is that for every character on the set, every one that we see, we are ...

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‘No groom for you’ – The dilemma of an Indian gay man

Most concerned Indian parents worry about their child’s happiness and would like to see her/him live a happy and fulfilled life, and being married is traditionally considered part of that equation of fulfilment. The search begins to find the correct partner, by word of mouth and other avenues. One method includes placing a newspaper matrimonial advertisement in a local or national newspaper to draw upon the eyes of many potential suitors and their families for marriage. Once the ad is placed, the phones begin to ring and emails are exchanged, all leading to a potential match. Everybody is happy! Yay! However, for one such ...

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If you are gay and Muslim, “change your sexual orientation!”

I was shocked when I read the recent news story about a Muslim family living in Germany who wanted to arrange the marriage of their 18-year-old homosexual son against his will with a Lebanese girl. The son told the media that his family threatened to slit his throat and burn him alive if he did not change his sexual orientation. Eventually, the court intervened and saved the young man from the brutal punishment from his family. This news reminded me of an acquaintance, Azam*, who runs a delicatessen in New York. He told his mother that he was gay when they ...

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