The transgender community are the people of Pakistan neglected on the basis of how they are made biologically. It is perceived as deviant regardless of religion, gender and caste. Though, society is slowly changing and becoming better. Gradually people are collectively making an effort to accept transgenders in the Pakistan community. Though, it wouldn’t have been possible if the transgenders themselves didn’t stand up to the injustice themselves and reach levels of success that made us listen to their voices. Here we examine the timeline of events that helped transgenders reach acceptance.
The awakening began in 2009 when Muhammad Aslam Khaki a practitioner in Islamic Law heard about an incident that reported 8 Khuwaja Sira were beaten and raped by police force in Islamabad. The same year he filed a petition to declare transgender community as the third gender citizen in Pakistan who should be protected under the law as well.
In 2011 November, election commission was issued in order to collect data from the transgender community and register them as voters and in 2012, for the first time the community was given the right to register themselves as the third gender (transgender or intersex person) for the NIC. The trans community is also eligible to contest in elections.
In 2016, Khyber PakhtunKhuwa became the first province in South Asia to announce policy for transgender community protection, with the collaboration of The Asia Foundation, Blue Veins and TransAction Alliance organized the first provisional consultation. In Lahore, a legal aid is also provided by volunteer lawyers who educate about the basic legal rights of a trans person each weekend.
One thing common among successful transgender like Rimal Ali, Maya Zaman, Maavia Malik and Kami Sid is their struggle in pursuing education. Hence, in 2018, The Gender Guardian school in Lahore was inaugurated which offer 12 years of education for transgender community along with the technical and vocational courses. It was initially created after the 2016 bombing of only transgender school of Muslim countries in Indonesia.
In September, 17 students of The Gender Guardian School received their first diploma certification for formal education and skill-based training after completing short courses.
Recently, Lahore high court summoned Health department’s additional secretary on the issue that separate ward for transgender community have not been compiled yet. Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi was disappointed as the Supreme Court had previously issued an order to arrange separate rooms in OPDs and wards in Public hospitals for transgender community. The petition was filed by Ishtiaq Chaudhry pointing out that at least one million transgenders living in Punjab are deprived from basic rights.
Although, the discrimination against trans community has been declared unlawful, many transgender are still victimized by the ignorant people of society. The community is bullied and some even burned alive. The activists of transgender community are concerned that the law has yet to decide penalty/punishment for any discrimination against transgenders. We have a lot of way to go but at least there have been some changes about the transgender community.