“We’re sparrows of paradise, and they don’t like us.”
Third Gender referred as Hijra in Pakistani society i.e. eunuch or hermaphrodite. They consist of hermaphrodites and women generally unable to lead normal life, unable for marriage and producing children. Most of them are close to men but they prefer to be identified as feminine then masculine due to their inclination to lead a life of women. A sociologist describes them as “man minus maleness” and “man plus woman”.
Fake smile on their face, adorn themselves with kajal, makeup, lipstick, dressed in colorful saris, in a monstrous parody of women in a unique style, they roam the busy marketplaces in groups for their earnings. Shouting with the male voices, palms meeting crossways in a trademark clap, they prey on liable passersby, who will part with their cash sooner to get rid of them. People don’t consider them as human beings. They don’t like to eat with them, drink with them or shake their hands, but they are full citizens of Pakistan like everyone else. But behind the merriment, hijra life can be lonely and dangerous in a conservative society such as Pakistan. Vulnerable to physical and verbal abuse, they also have to bear the humiliating attitude of police officers, doctors at hospitals, and public officials. Just because these individuals fail to conform to the stereotypical norms of our culture, we have reduced them down to such a level, where the only two occupations accessible to them are begging and prostitution. Transgender person stated that people gave them coins in alms, but since there is more money in prostitution, they have no other better option than to resort to it. Many have to endure ridicule by dancing openly in the streets or at weddings to scrape by a living, or resort simply to begging. Others are involved in sex work with little education about safe sex and the dangers of HIV. In case of any criminal victimization or even sexual harassment, these individuals get no help/ support from the community or government institutions. They are entirely helpless because of our attitude towards them. Such individuals are not even seen as waiters at restaurants or workers in construction industries, due to their ambiguous genitalia. To be honest we are the biggest hurdles by their way actually we think that we are perfect living creatures for this earth. And these transgender facing the torment of their parents as their parents disobey God. Such a stupid thought we have. God created us by their best way, so who are we to make a fun of them for their appearance These individuals have, perhaps, faced the severest form of discrimination from among all the minorities in Pakistan since ages, and unless a change from within emanates, would continue to be harassed for years to come. 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. They (transgender) hope that one day they will recover their glory and prestige with the help of courts and media and become useful citizens of the country. Media plays an important role by on-air such type of drama / soap like VEENA .KHUDA MERA BHI HAI to identify their role & their feeling . However, it is also the responsibility of the society to treat them as human beings and bring a change in their unfamiliar attitudes towards third gender. They must have the rights to survive in the society instead to lead a life in seclusion.
Written by: Ainna Kukda