With gender identity being treated like a crime, life for transgenders in Pakistan is no less than a challenge. Every day brings a new challenge for accommodation and survival, trans lives, for the longest, have been taken for granted and taken secondary.
While Pakistan did take some significantly progressive steps in the leaving year, like giving them a seat on the television screen, the right to gender identity and their presence during the General Elections 2018 – there is one horrifying aspect that remained dominant throughout 2018 as well.
November 20th, today, is being celebrated across the world as ‘Trans Remembrance Day’. This day is dedicated to remembering and honouring the lost lives of transgender individuals who fell prey to transphobia and gender-based violence.
Though we should be concerned about it every single day, but there is no better time to reflect and do some soul-searching and see where we stand on the issue today. A recent bone-chilling incident that was an eye-opener issue was the murder of Sajid urf Nazo, who was shot, tortured, mutilated and her body was dismembered into pieces. A man named Muhammad Farooq confessed chopping her body with an axe in an attempt to easily dispose it.
However, unfortunately, this is not the only incident. Standing of the country in terms of protecting its sexual and gender minorities is a lot more daunting. Nazo is the 62nd trans woman who was murdered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) alone since 2015. This year alone, 479 cases of violence against transgender were reported in the Peshawar region.
‘This is unacceptable [there have been] 479 cases of violence and 8 Murders of transwomen in KP in 2018 only and the silence of KP Govt [government] is criminal and shameful. We… demand justice’ – said Trans Action Pakistan, a platform dedicated to advocating for the marginalised community.
This community is vulnerable without any legal protection in Pakistan. With these cases that surface the mainstream and social media due to the severity of their nature, there are the cases of everyday discrimination and violence that the community faces, which often go unnoticed or unreported. From altering our school’s admission forms, making them more inclusive, to letting them take their deserved space in every sphere, Pakistan still has a long way to go. We have taken one step towards inclusion in 2018, let’s enter 2019 with a goal to take leaps forward this year!
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