Transgenders: Aren’t they humans too?

By: Ghalib Feroz Ali

Transgender are the people who have different gender identity that differs from the common assigned sex. Transgender are also known as ‘Khuwaja Sira’ and ‘third gender’. In Pakistan, transgender are not treated with equal human rights; even they are not being accepted in their families, and are forced to live in transgender houses where they don’t have access to education, source of earnings, resulting in severe repercussions to the society such as begging on the streets.

People pronounce that transgender can do only entertainment, wondering of such a degrading thought, eventually forcing them to perform dance in many family events. This has led this part of community towards destitution. Most of these people are illiterate and even unskilled and certainly those transgender are educated are not given employment and those who are working face sexual harassment and discrimination. Transgender are not only subjected to physical violence but sexual harassment and rape as well. Pakistan’s constitution contains laws which safeguard the rights of transgender but unfortunately, when the time comes to enforce the laws, no as such implementation of these said laws can be seen from the government’s end.

Let see what has happened for the rights for a transgender, since 2009 it has also been that  declared equal rights for transgender people, including the right to inherit property and assets, the right to vote and to be counted as a separate category in the country’s national census. In 2012 NADRA created a third gender in their database to accommodate all transgender. The Feminist Collective and Khwaja Sira Society have drafted the Transgender Rights Protection Bill, 2017 in Senate to pursue the legal conversation against gender disparity with the lawmakers.

We need to have brave and bold transgender who are standing for themselves and for the rights of their community like Kami Sid, the first Pakistan’s transgender model, Iraha Parishei a transwoman student, Mani AQ a transman activist and indeed the young community in social media and human rights activist are standing up for the rights for transgender. Every profit and nonprofit corporation should make human resource policies to hire transgender, every educational institute whether a school or university should give admissions to transgender.

As Pakistanis we need to think and realize that this is not merely a war that these individuals have to fight, they are humans just like us and deserve as much of a right to good education , good job opportunities and fair and equal treatment as any other normal member of the community. We need to create a shout that speaks on their behalf, fights for their rights and makes living less painful for them. Many youngsters in Pakistan are opening NGOs to finish poverty, so why don’t we open an NGO to protect the transgender so that these transgender can have feeling that they have a family who looks after them and they are not alone.

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