[VIDEO] 'Begged during the day and studied at night', The Inspiring Story of Pakistan’s First-Ever Transgender Lawyer Nisha Rao
Over the past few years, Nisha Rao has set a remarkable example for many.
The 28-year-old Nisha Rao is Pakistan’s first-ever transgender lawyer who currently fights the cases of many people, including transgender people. Rao’s journey towards success was not comfortable. The Karachi-based lawyer struggled with extreme discrimination, humiliation, and insensitivity to fulfill her dreams and rise above everything life threw at her.
Here is Rao’s inspiring story:
Originally Rao belonged from Lahore, where she lived with her family, who continuously tortured and physically abused her. While talking to a media outlet, Rao spoke about her childhood with teary eyes. She said:
I always had feminine habits. I used to sit in the madrassa with the girls and recite the Quran. And I used to wear a headscarf and applied lipstick. But due to these things, I was often beaten by my family. I still remember the days when, as soon as I would enter the school, a few of the bullies would gather around me to crack jokes at my expense, and everyone would join in the gales of laughter.
Finally, post matriculation, Rao realized that her situation would remain unchanged. Therefore, she mustered up the courage to leave her family and fled to Karachi with two transgender friends. Rao stole her father’s salary and bought a train ticket for Karachi.
Initially, in the new city, she stayed at her friend’s house, who arranged food and accommodation for her. However, Rao soon realized that they too were poor, so she had to do something. Explaining this, she said:
Now I had to do something. I did not know how to dance, and I did not want to do anything else, so I was forced to beg. In the beginning, I felt unfortunate that I was begging, but I did not have an ID card. For that reason, no one hired me, and no NGO helped me. But I did not give up. I used to beg at a signal.
The police used to speak to transgender people in a very bitter tone and often abused them.
One day, Rao’s teacher, Mudassar Iqbal Chaudhry Sahib, approached her and advised her to become a lawyer. According to Rao, he counseled:
If you become a lawyer, you would not need to be afraid of anyone; the police will be afraid of you.
Rao spent the next ten years begging and studying law with the same money. In 2018, she managed to earn her law degree from Sindh Muslim Law College, took the entrance exam, graduated from Karachi University in International Relations, and began her advocacy journey.
The Karachi-based lawyer said:
I am proud that I completed my education with my transgender identity.
Talking about her present and future, Rao said:
The lawyers in court and the judges treat me very well. Now I legally help eunuchs through my NGO. In the future, I aspire to set up a helpline through my organization where transgender lawyers can guide other transgender people. I also want to build a shelter home for elderly transgender people. I want them to be treated well and cared for, so they spend the last days of their lives in comfort.
Over the past few years, Nisha Rao has set a remarkable example for many. When faced with disrespect and unfairness, she stood up for herself and became so prominent and influential that people were forced to respect her and treat her right.
Concluding the interview, Rao said:
I hope that the people who used to humiliate me may find themselves reconsidering their actions now.
We wish Nisha Rao the best of luck for future endeavors and hope that the beacon of light she has lit may never dampen.
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