Transgender reflects a group of people who enjoy the least respect or rights in Pakistan. Due to the controversial nature and typical mental state of the people, the issue of the rights of transgender people in Pakistan is not even discussed in sophisticated circles. Most people do not even consider them part of their community; In general, transgender people find massive rejection in almost all parts of Pakistan.
According to recent research studies on transgender, approximately one in every 50 children has a transgender tendency / potential. In other words, around 2% of Pakistan’s population is affected by transgenderness.
In our society, transgender people are usually identified by families. The community often takes them for pre-homosexuals and most Pakistani families become aggressive towards them. For example, they are given strict warnings to change their attitude and most of them are rejected by their communities and relatives.
I have often wondered why there is hatred towards “transgender people” in Pakistan. The term means different things to different people. Basically, it means being born without knowing to what type you belong. It is the most painful feeling one can have in fact, we never choose to be men, women or transgender, nevertheless, we are born as one and, in truth, Allah does not discriminate between genders, who is that? Transgender people have always existed in all societies, cultures and religions. Nonconformity with prescribed gender roles excludes them from the mainstream and people treat them as inferior. Allah has created all equal human beings; there is no area of discrimination, harassment and violence based on gender in Islam. Human beings, regardless of their gender, class, race, ethnicity, religion and region, have the right to various rights, including equal opportunities, life with dignity, freedom of expression and non-discrimination or violence in Islam.
The existence of transgender people is explicitly mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Transgender people are called Makhannathun (effeminate) in Arabic. They are the creation of Allah Almighty and they have been granted various rights in the jurisdiction of Islam.
“To Allah belongs the dominion of heavens and earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female, and He gives to whom He wills males. Or He makes them [both] males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He knows and is Competent.”
(Chapter 42, Surat I-Shura, Verse 49, 50)
The Qur’an is clear about the existence of a third gender and recognizes it beyond the realms of the dichotomy between men and women. It is clearly written in the Qur’an: “Allah is the one who shapes you in the womb according to your pleasure” (Quran 3: 6). All forms and forms, including the physical characteristics and sexual inclinations of any human being, are a blessing of Almighty Allah. When every child-man, woman or transgender is the creation of Allah, then there is no scope or justification for discrimination based on gender identity and sexuality. Islam categorically supports the existence and rights of those who fit the image of not being a woman, not even a man. This includes access to various social, economic and political services. It can be guaranteed that the same rights are respected with regard to Islam. The Prophet of Islam also treated transgender people with reverence and forbade their mistreatment. He did not despise them.
There seems to have been a myth in our country despite that we have a clear instruction from Allah and The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) that they cannot do other work than singing and dancing. I wonder who started this, the downward spiral of degradation. Now they are not treated as equals, they live in isolated communities with their own class, often in extreme poverty. Most have no education since the idea of a transgender child being raised in a normal household and studying in a conventional school is not an acceptable reality.
As Pakistanis, we have to realize that it is not just a war that these individuals have to fight, but they are human beings, like us, and they deserve so much right to education and these people have voices that nobody listens to. We need to be the voice that speaks in their name, fight for their rights and make living for them less painful.
Riffie Khan holds a Double Masters from Shah Abdul Latif University in Shikarpur in Economics and Political Science. However, despite his academic achievements, he has not been able to keep a job. In 2003, Khan was forced to leave her job at the National Medical Center in Karachi, where she worked as a receptionist, because it did not fit. Khan is one of the many transgender people in the country who suffer in their professional and personal lives due to discrimination. “It’s the educated people who bother me the most,” he says. “When they discriminate against people like me, it hurts even more.”
The answer is quite simple. Transgender people and the LGBT community are considered a sign of shame in Pakistani culture. Most of these people never have the opportunity to acquire education in the normal schools due to the discriminatory treatment and the unpleasant attitude of their fellow citizens.
As a result, most of these individuals have no other choice but to make a living singing and dancing along the road or at private parties. In addition, transsexuals are generally not encouraged to live among regular mohalla’s. They are forced to establish their own colonies outside of regular communities.
In the last elections, many transsexuals in Pakistan wrote the story by casting their vote to elect their political representative. This decision of the Supreme Court was presided over successfully by the President of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Mr. Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.
In 2009, the Supreme Court also approved the order to include the category of “third gender” in the national identity form. Transgender people in Pakistan obtained the right to register as a third gender in their CNIC in 2012.
However, although their rights are guaranteed on paper, members of the transgender community say they do not have these rights in practice and the provincial welfare departments have yet to implement the decision.
As a result, they continue to be discriminated against by society. They depend to a large extent on the sustenance of singing and dancing at weddings and birthday celebrations. They are also treated as sexual objects and often become victims of violent attacks.
The Functional Committee of the Senate on Human Rights approved a series of proposed amendments to the ‘Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017. Tran’s people will now be recognized as their gender without requiring the consent of a medical board.
Now they will also have the same protections for dignity and security as other citizens of Pakistan. The transgender community is opposed to the idea of establishing a medical board that should determine their gender fearing they may be subject to shame and harassment.
“The bill provides protection to members of the transgender community and prohibits the attack on their self-esteem and abuse.”
Transgender people in Pakistan will now be defined as “any person whose gender identity and / or gender expression differs from the norms of society and the cultural expectations based on sex that were assigned to them at the time of their birth”.
Now Pakistani communities have changed their thinking towards transgenders. In the area of Shari’a, several Muslim countries like Pakistan have begun to recognize the rights of the transgender community according to Islamic laws. Many Islamic nations are moving forward to recognize their rights and accept them as they are. An example of this is that of Pakistan. Recently, Pakistani clerics issued a religious decree declaring that transgender people have full marriage, inheritance and funerary rights under Islamic law.