Local News Karachi , KARACHI

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Pakistani transgender rally for rights, demand respectable existence in society.


Transgender persons rally through the streets of Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi to spread awareness about their identity in the society.


STORY: Dozens of transgender persons on Saturday (November 11) rallied through the streets of Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi to spread awareness about their identity in the society.  

In conservative Pakistan, most transgenders are treated as outcasts and resort to begging on the streets and working as wedding dancers to make a living. Many are sexually assaulted and get no justice.

The participants of the rally held banner and placards. The banner read “Transgender persons are wake but the society is sleeping”.

Some danced to drumbeat, the others rode on colourful camel-drawn and horse-drawn carriages.

“The programmes are held for males and females in this society, hence there should be programmes for transgender community as well. So, we have gathered here from all over Pakistan to show our unity. We are one. In this rally we are here to talk about our rights, about human rights violations committed against transgender community. We will discuss things, we will chalk out policies in this gathering,”said one participant of the rally, Surayya Rani.

Discrimination and disapproval of the transgender community and the associated social stigma sometimes lead to harassment and violence.

“We are here to wake consciousness of people that being transgender is not a curse. Today, when a politician wants to curse another politician, he calls him hijra (transgender). When a man or woman is cursed, he or she is called a hijra. Hijra is our identity. Through this festival, we want to spread awareness among people that our identity is as respectful as being a man or a woman. So, for God’s sake, our identity should not be used as a slur term or a curse,”said another participant of the rally, Jiya.

Pakistan does not have civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation. In a historic 2009 ruling, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled in favour of civil rights for transgender citizens, and further court rulings upheld and increased these rights.

The Parliament of Pakistan passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, which established broad protections for transgender people. After years of sometimes brutal persecution, Pakistani transgenders gained recognition in 2009 when the Supreme Court granted them special status with rights equal to other citizens.

On the ground, however, little progress has been made.

On 19 May, 2023, the Shariat Court concluded that Islamic law is based on biological sex, and concerning self-perceived gender, do not conform with Islamic principles.

Pakistan's Sixth Population and Housing Census, conducted in 2017, estimated the number of transgender people in the country as 10,418. But independent estimates place the number in the hundreds of thousands.

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