Called by derogatory names such as ‘khwaja sara’, ‘khusra,’ or ‘third sex,’ Pakistan’s transgender community is struggling to get acceptance in society.
These children of ‘lesser gods’ are discriminated, discarded and deprived of their legal and fundamental rights such as right to education, livelihood and equal opportunities.
Once revered and regarded as Lord’s chosen people, transgender community is now looked upon as criminals, drug addicts, beggars and sex workers.
Former Chief Justices Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Saqib Nisar had to some extent come forward to help them for instance in helping them get registered with National Database Registration Authority (NADRA), their right to cast their votes and jobs in the federal and the provincial departments but those measures more or less proved cosmetic and did not make any tangible change in their lives.
However, with the judges’ departure, hope for transgender community’s mainstreaming in society also faded away. Still there are some who have refused to bow down and acting as role model, within the transgender community, are trying to live a normal life with honour and dignity.
Nadeem Kashish a makeup designer at a news channel Express News, while talking to Pakistan Observer here Friday said the Supreme Court meant well when it took up the case of transgender but unfortunately, the court too was not shown the true picture. The number of transgender community, according to a report presented in the court, was described 10,000. Kashish disagrees with the number and contradicted that only in Rawalpindi and Islamabad 10,000 or so transgenders were living.
“We are much more than that and the government needed to take steps like allocating job quota, seats in colleges and universities etc for the transgender community,” said Kashish. However, she agreed that it was more of a matter of acceptance in society than legal or official recognition.
Even parents are shy of accepting the transgender as their children and that is the main reason a transgender boy or girl as he or she thinks himself/herself goes distracted and joins the company of those like him.
Nadeem Kashish is running a movement to ensure the rights of the transgender people in society.
He is the chief executive of the Shemale Association For Fundamental Rights (SAFFR) and has taken up the cause for their education, jobs and social acceptance. About the recent bill passed by the Senate of Pakistan in which a transgender person is allowed to define his gender whether male or female in NADRA, Kashish said this will lead to further complications.
Many persons will take undue advantage of the bill passed by Senate of Pakistan in March last year, said Nadeem Kashish. He called for production of medical certificate by the applicant when he or she claims to be a transgender with the registration authority.
Many criminal elements are active in Pakistani society in the garb of transgenders, she said. Kashish also contested 2018 elections from Islamabad and is RJ at an FM radio. Her show “Moorat aik Qudrat” is quite popular with Pakistani radio audience.