Pakistan, arguably a patriarchal country, is home to at least 300,000 oppressed and ignored transgender, who are treated in a uniquely strange way (as if they are aliens) and pathetically abusive way (as if they are world’s most wanted criminals).
When we uncover the root causes behind this terrible living condition of transgender, we come to many discoveries and realizations. Gender inequality and patriarchal mentality here stops women from living a life as that of men. Domestic abuse, acid attacks, honor killings, etc. against women is a norm in underprivileged and illiterate sectors of Pakistan although women are abused and not provided with full rights in literal sectors, too.
A society where women are not treated equally, are not given equal job opportunities, are not respected and regarded equally, it is not surprising for me to observe transgenders’ rights being abused and sabotaged.
Most of the transgenders are not welcomed by their families, therefore they run away in their childhood and join various transgender groups to meet their life needs. While some of them succeed in getting secondary education, they are not given healthy job opportunities. Most of them resort to dancing on streets or in weddings to earn bread and begging, and rest join sex industry without knowing the possible health damage caused by it.
Their life is more or less like one in hell. They are made fun of, ridiculed, abused and harassed everywhere they go. They are treated as animals, or even worse in some places.
According to many transgenders’ interviews, they face great humiliation when they visit public offices, hospitals and police stations.
Among mainstream literate public, transgenders are usually respected. Although, no one steps forward to help them live a better life, still many of us try to be nice towards them. Yet, transgenders are not considered normal human beings in our eyes. To us, they are some defected creatures. I do not see their natural body change as some disorder or disease.
GOD made them this way, and it could be ME, YOU or ANYONE ELSE as a transgender. Suppose if you were born a transgender, how would you have felt facing such intense abuse and ridiculing followed by psychological trauma? Does this thought make you wonder about the condition our transgender community is living in?
Even, we try to make fun of or abuse people by calling them ‘transgender’. Does being transgender is a sign of morally less character or what?
Oppression and abuse related cases against transgenders are pretty much normal now. To count few, in June, a transgender rights activist from Peshawar, Alisha, was shot down. When she was brought to hospital, doctors initially refused to give her treatment because they were unsure as in which ‘gender ward’ to put her in. According to witnesses, she was left in the corridor and passersby made fun of her. When she was admitted in women ward, patients complained about her presence, and in all this fuss, unfortunately, she died. Yes, she died. Why? SICK MENTALITY!
Just two days ago, Julie and her friends were beaten and raped by few sick men in Sialkot. According to a video message by her, they made her drink their urine. She says that if anyone else observed the scenes, he/she would have committed suicide. She cried her heart throughout the video, demanding for justice and becoming the voice of all transgenders in country.
Lastly, I would like to say that we need to educate masses and upcoming generations to respect and treat transgender community equally. Government must take effective steps to ensure their safety and must put the culprits behind the bars. I hope to see transgenders being given equal rights in near future.
Written by: Faizan shahzad