Stories about transgender community

In a country of abysmal women rights, will the Transgender Protection Act prove to be fruitful?

Last week, the National Assembly (NA) enacted a law to protect the rights of the transgender community. Called the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018, its main provisions validate transgender identity and expression and seek to provide transgender men and women the rights they had under the country’s Constitution but never enjoyed. The act spells these rights out explicitly so there remains no doubt of their full citizenship. The definition of “transgender persons” is thoughtfully crafted to include intersex, eunuch or a “transgender man or woman, khawaja sira or any person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from ...

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Pervez Musharraf claims he gave women their rights, but then mocks Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by calling him a “woman”

“Bilawal jo nahre laga raha ke auraton ke tarah. Sub se pehley tu yeh keh aadmi ban ker dikhai aur phir  nahre lagwai.” (Bilawal is raising slogans like a woman. First he should become a man and then raise such slogans.) These lines from the latest video from General (retired) Pervez Musharraf really hit me hard. As of late, I am becoming used to Musharraf sprouting nonsense, but this was very uncouth and ill-considered and below his usually extremely low standards. After all, Mr Musharraf, the former dictator and Pakistani “educated” urban middle class’s favorite political leader after Imran Khan, has lately been ...

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#ChangeTheClap: Giving inclusivity a new direction, one clap at a time

As 16 Days of Activism to end gender-based violence came to a close on December 10th, World Human Rights Day, the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) launched its #ChangeTheClap campaign. This campaign comes at an imperative time, considering that gender-based violence is on the rise and atrocities against the trans community, especially, are extremely prevalent. The campaign aims to directly challenge the way people perceive transgender people in Pakistan. Brutality and humiliation towards members of the transgender community is something every citizen of Pakistan is aware of, or has taken part in, directly or indirectly, in some form or the other. ...

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Rights over respect?: “Madam, this is the Red Zone and ‘khusray’ are not allowed here”

To be transgender means being unsafe across the globe, mainly because the masses have neither the understanding of gender diversity nor the awareness that a gender non-binary exists. Specifically in Pakistan, an almost outright denial of the existence of transgender people has led to their marginalisation as well as a lack of respect from society at large. They face threats, harassment and humiliation on a daily basis, and are only seen as sex workers, dancers or beggars. The disrespect and discrimination reserved for them is across the board, as in my many years I have seen no exceptions to this, not even from ...

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Basila & The Street Crew: A much-needed humanised portrayal of the transgender community

Growing up, I always wondered about different genders. I was curious and after talking to different people, I learned that there are some really alarming misconceptions about transgender people. Especially in Pakistan, they have long been denied basic human rights and are usually seen as “different”, abnormal, lowly, dirty and mere objects for entertainment. I was really young when I first encountered a transgender individual yet I remember it so vividly. This incident was as normal as any other daily interaction but there is still something about that moment that I find really bizarre. We were staying at our grandmother’s place during summer holidays ...

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By dressing as a man to make a statement, Ayesha Gulalai has only belittled countless dynamic women of Pakistan

No one said it was easy being a Pakistani woman. We fight misogyny, chauvinism and harassment on a daily basis in our schools, workplaces and for some, even homes. We are daughters, sisters and mothers but those relationships are not unto themselves. We populate the corporate world, lead movements, teach impressionable minds and raise little people. There is very little women cannot achieve and that forms our identities. It is a small mind then, in my opinion, which tries to fight misogyny by fitting into a box shaped like a man. A mind that has no business representing the multi-faceted and peerless entities that ...

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Pakistan issued its first third gender passport – but giving respect to the transgender community is asking for too much

As a part of Pakistan’s minority group who seems to care about our country’s transgender community, watching this video was disturbing to say the least. Shortly after the holy month of Ramazan was over and Eid was being celebrated, a group of Pakistani men of all ages thought it was amusing and entertaining to publicly harass a group of transgender people in Murree. The video itself left viewers, including myself, completely taken aback and disappointed. It was a stark reminder of how pathetic people can be. I couldn’t help but wonder how much time it would take for people of this country to become responsible and empathetic citizens. ...

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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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Moving towards a trans-friendly Pakistan, finally

What a feeling it is when you just be yourself without having to be self-conscious about it. There’s not an iota of concern there. “I am who I am, I wear whatever I please and I express myself however I chose to,” thinks the person. I am not going to be shamed or persecuted by anyone, or entertain any fears about that happening. For many, a transgender, man or woman, it is but an idealised notion that is not always realised but is perhaps trending in the right direction now. In Peshawar, Pakistan, there was a birthday party for a 40-year-old transgender woman by the ...

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What Trans Action KP can teach Pakistan

The widely circulated video of Julie being flogged and tortured in Sialkot is the latest reminder of the perils of being someone who does not conform to the arbitrary norms of our society. Long marginalised and consigned to the niches of begging and dancing we have relegated them to, transgender individuals have now become the frequent target of physical brutality in Pakistan. It was not till the transgender community and their allies in social activism raised a public outcry at the murder of Alesha last May that the authorities started making any real effort to challenge this menace. It took the ...

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