The life of a transgender person has always been an uphill struggle. They are subjected to oppression and abuse – let it be verbal or physical – not only in Pakistan but across the world for something they are not responsible.
Census Inclusion of Transgender in Pakistan
They are not only discriminated and deprived of basic facilities but also lack recognition before the law in most countries of the world. Same was the case with transgender in Pakistan until 2017, when the Government of Pakistan took a whole new initiative to count trans people in national population census – on the petition filed by a transgender individual Waqar Ali back in November 2016.
Will Inclusion in Census Solve Problems of Transgender Community?
But what comes next after this step. Will this inclusion help them clinch a respectable standing in the country? Will this inclusion curb the social stigma against transgender, prevailing in society since forever? Will their parents not abandon them and raise them with pride? Will society stop throwing sexual innuendos and discriminative slurs at them? Will they not be subjected to sexual violence? Will it help them to lead peaceful lives free from all the bullying and maltreatment?
There are so many unanswered questions that keep flooding in every individual’s mind, and the most likely answer is a BIG NO! They will never be free in this mediocre conservative society- where the government took approximately 69 years to accord them a third gender status in Pakistan. So it’s foolish to anticipate public showing them the respect they deserve in the society on the spur of the moment, especially in the country like Pakistan where their petty taboos bound people.
This one step could not bridge the huge gap between the society and trans people, who are languishing a never-ending societal discrimination. Recently, a trans person interviewed by a private source said that he tried to commit a suicide and added that it would be better if he were born as a dog rather than a trans-person, something so appalling to hear. No one could second guess the pain they experience.
More Needs to Be Done for Transgender in Pakistan
There is a crying need to take more initiatives for their welfare in our country to curb this rampant gender discrimination against them. Our education system should introduce a scholarship scheme for them to avail a chance to get educated.
The government should start employment and training schemes for them. It is highly anticipated that even if half of the transgender acquire proper education and avail job facilities, they will bring substantial contributions to our economy.
Nevertheless, it is so chastened to see them being maltreated, perceived as sex toys or subjected to imposed prostitution and panhandling by the society. If we fail to do something collectively for the betterment of the transgender in our country, the suicide rates among them will remain high.
Author - Hareem Fatima
Hareem Fatima has a keen interest in Journalism. She is a student of Mass Communication & about to graduate from the University of Karachi.