Transgender reflects a group of people who enjoys the least amount of respect or rights in Pakistan. Due to the controversial nature and typical mindset of people, the subject of Transgender rights in Pakistan is not even discussed in sophisticated circles. Most people do not even consider them as a part of their community; massive rejections are often faced by transgender in almost all the parts of Pakistan. Recent events have proven that Pakistan is failing to secure the basic rights of this group of people. The transgender people are harassed in every field of life and other people consider them shameful and a disgrace to their society.
I have often wondered why it is that generally there is hatred for ‘transgender’ in Pakistan. The term means different things to different people. At a very basic it means being born not knowing which gender you belong to.
A myth seems to have formed that they cannot do any work except for sing and dance. I wonder who started this, the downwards spiral of degradation. Now they are not treated as equal, they live in secluded communities with their own kind, often in extreme poverty. Most are uneducated as the notion of a transgender child being brought up in a normal household and studying in a mainstream school is not an acceptable reality.
As Pakistanis, we need to realize that this is not merely a war that these individuals have to fight they are human beings, just like us, and deserve as much of a right to education and these individuals have voices that are not heard by anyone. We need to be the voice that speaks on their behalf, fights for their rights and makes living for them less painful.
We lack proper laws to secure their rights. Often, they’re not even allowed to sit or talk with other humans. They are forced to live away from “normal” communities of people. Even educated people abuse them and consider them undeserving of respect. They are mistreated in markets, organisations and every private or government institutions. They are not enrolled in educational institutions as many of our esteemed and well off families think that they don’t need to be educated because they are only a dark spot for the society and that they can’t contribute to the welfare of the society. Even the ones who get educated by any means are not given any jobs. The only option left for them to earn their livelihood is by dancing in local and private parties or prostitution.
Unfortunately, our government has failed to provide legal rights to the transgender community due to which they have not been given the respect they deserve as human beings and as members of society. They should be given equal rights, as are other men and women in Pakistan by law. There should be proper quota for their jobs in every private and government sector organization, to encourage them and in order to secure their future. They also have the right to ambitions. They can be future doctors, engineers, scientists, or artists – if only our government pays a little attention towards them. They can live a respectful and prosperous life if we all cooperate and encourage them by considering them our equal.
Government institutions and other governing bodies are known to harass these individuals. In case of any criminal victimization or even sexual harassment, these individuals get no help/ support from the community or government institutions. Due to literally no job opportunities and financial security, most members of the transgender community is forced to make their living by prostitution.
There is no precise information available at the community level on literacy. Almost all trans activists interviewed for the study had completed at least intermediate level education with plans for higher studies. Some had completed post-graduate degrees from mainstream public sector institutions and others were currently enrolled in degree programmes. The impact of hetero-normative disciplinary techniques was visible in experiences and expectations associated with higher education institutions. The only instance where a trans-woman was found to be attending college in her preferred appearance was one where she had transitioned and could ‘pass as a woman or an inter-sex person’. Those still in the process of transitioning when attending college or taking examinations had to dress up ‘as men’ for the purpose. There was another category of TGs yet unsure whether or not they wanted a complete transition. They shared their plans to take private tuition’s for bachelors’ degree examinations, expecting harassment at higher education institutions.