By: Obaid Bhatti
God has created everything valid, it is believed by every human around the world, but in Pakistan, the situation is not ideal for so many things, likewise the third gender of humans, the Trans.
Apart from goods, in humans, people don’t bother their children born with a defect of being straight men and women, if they have any problem with their gender, impotent regarding productivity of breed, they are thrown out, not only home but the society, as they are considered curse to the parents and family. Parents don’t take the courage to own them as relatives and others residing nearby make gossips about their fate and their queer child. They associate it as a sign of punishment by God for their unknown sin. Children are the most beloved creature for parents across the planet but not in the case of a queer child, especially Pakistan, the land of pure, came into being with the motto of protecting the rights of every human. Pakistan consists of more than 85 percent Muslims and rests 15 percent with minorities, but this is not the case of Muslims only, people believing in other religions are the same in the case of transgender as it’s a unanimous thought to hate Trans and maintaining distance with them. They are considered the source of entertainment and a mocked one.
Unfortunately, the state who is responsible to govern every citizen has not done adequately for the most deprived one, the Trans community, it took almost seven decades to enroll the Transgender community as a citizen in the national database. Still, the national database of Pakistan does not have accurate stats about the transgender community across the country, as its believed and according to unofficial data, there are tens of thousands of transgender in the country. NADRA and government have not taken any significant steps to ensure enrollment of this neglected community to bring them into the mainstream like other segments of society. It would be a first necessary step to enroll them to pursue a policy for their betterment but all in vain so far.
Education is a basic right to every citizen in almost every country across the world, but In Pakistan, like other deprived children, transgender community has not got a specified single school by the government, they are deprived of the education as their parents don’t allow them to go to public school fearing them mocked by other children, bullied by the society, so they are not allowed even to leave home, but soon after the parents are full of exhaust due to their birth, they are thrown out to survive their way. Lacking education and basic knowledge about life, they are not acceptable anywhere to have work to govern their lives, so they are compelled to do immoral and unlawful activities to feed them. They are adopted by Gurus governing homeless transgender persons to make them learned to survive, they are learned with dancing skills they are known for commonly.
To cater needs of education for the transgender community, a dedicated school was opened by an NGO in Lahore early this year. Following the NGO, the government of Punjab also opened a first-ever public school for the transgender community in Lodhran District in the same year. Now it seems that the government is seriously thinking about uplifting the most deprived community to bring them equal to other humans of the land.
After the current government formation under the leadership of Imran Khan, the government is taking bit more steps for the betterment of the transgender community as the first transgender got her passport with the desired identity to travel abroad. The first passport was given to Farzana Jan, President of TransAction alliance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Since then, they have been issued passports with their declared identity and can fly abroad.
Likewise, the right to drive vehicles was given to them last year as well.
Laila Ali was the one who got her driving license in Islamabad, has any other transgender got a driving license, yet not confirmed.
There was another good news regarding the well-being of the transgender community, the same year, like the EX IG Sindh Police, Dr. Syed Nadeem, announced five percent quota in the police for transgender community, the step has been taken as the part of government’s initiates to protect and secure the rights of this community. However, this quota is only for constable positions. Whatever, this is a blaze of fresh air in this regard as the first time, any government institute took a step to protect the rights of the most ignored section of the society.
Pakistani media also took a step forward to participate in the well-being of the transgender community as the first transgender newscaster Marvia Malik made headlines on Koh-e-Noor TV, a private news channel. Marvia Malik was the first one Trans model to walk on ramp in fashion shows, it was a door opening moment for the transgender community into the media and fashion industry as they are more comfortable and flexible to opt as a profession. They are natural skills and interests to go for this profession taken as a bold field of life to which, most of the society doesn’t dare to join sensitive with their reputation.
In regards to legislation to protect the rights of this community, Council of Islamic Ideology (CCI) Chairman Dr. Qibla Ayaz has declared a discriminatory attitude towards the transgender community against the values of Islam. Transgender individuals are a part of our society and have equal rights, just like anyone else, however, there is a dire need to change our behaviors and society’s attitude towards them, He added. The federal ombudsman’s secretariat has taken an active interest to protect, ensure rights and welfare aimed legislation, appointed a commissioner for the transgender community to overlook their problems and address their grievances after interacting with parliament and government institutions.
It is believed, after such remarkable developments and steps taken by different segments of society recognizing the transgender community and allowing them to be a part of mainstream gradually, would bring more positive changes regarding owing them our own. As the public is aware of their rights and equality, and willing to accept them as they are, that time is not far away when the transgender community is seen in every field and profession of society just like every other segment of society.