X Marker isn’t enough | By Farkhanda Shahid Khan


X Marker isn’t enough

GOVERNANCE is a big duty that demands the protection and surveillance of the public. Every citizen is entitled to basic human rights without gender discrimination. It is the state’s responsibility to deliver fundamental rights and civil liberties to every citizen.

Though the problems occur in multi-ethnic, and multi-racial states, usually, with minority groups, yet, inter-group communications, inter-faith dialogues, consciousness-raising by educating the masses, and practising tolerance can eliminate the menace of human hatred.

LGBTs usually and transgender community especially, have remained the target in all the communities worldwide.

They are harassed, annoyed, bullied, beaten, and scorned in public places. They are victim of rape and sexual violence. They are more ordinary than ordinary people.

They are more othered than the ordinary others (usually, women and poor people are taken as others).

Similarly, by trespassing their basic rights, they are screened doubly at airports for being transgender. They are loathed, feared and secluded in all communities with no exception.

Pakistan’s public and non-governmental organizations are making efforts for transgender’s political, social and economic rights.

They are at work to eradicate their health complications as well. WHO has also served in bringing awareness by conducting seminars and providing literature about complicated health issues.

Akhter Husain Baloch has written a book titled “Teesri Jins” (The Third Gender) to address the issues of this deprived section of society. There is also one transgender school working in the Southern Punjab of Pakistan.

But, regretfully! the other side of the picture shows the murdering, shooting and brutal killing of transgenders in different regions of the country.

The year 2021 was called the ‘deadliest year’ due to the murder of 375 transgender worldwide.

They protest, hold rallies, and ask for justice, but most often their cases are unheard. So, the present amenities are not plenty to encounter the issues of these ‘wretched beings’.

There is a need to open up sufficient schools, colleges and universities for their educational rights, and to guarantee jobs for them.

Moreover, legal help and easy access to law and justice should be counted in the provisions.

They should be provided with adequate homes to live securely and without harm. Like all human beings there should be doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals in their community as well.

I think they are more philanthropic to provide services to all human beings. Many countries including Pakistan have taken initiative to issue non-binary passports and identity cards to all the citizens.

The US federal government agency has also decided to select X gender marker for keeping one’s identity unspecific.

This historic decision applies to passports and all other identity documents. Moreover, this US venture will be a precedent for a more equal and more gender-neutral society which ultimately will bring respect and poise to all.

America’s this step is significant because it will help the State to avoid further dissection which the country has grieved due to the politics of gender.

US State services to its citizens and worldwide are of immense value. Gender politics and gender discrimination are global issues, but among the genders, the transgender see the worst exploitation.

While dealing with their rights, another imperative addition is President Biden’s emphasis on mental health and eliminating all discriminatory practices against transgender community along with easy entry to all government services while commemorating the International Trans Day of Visibility.

The government is also contacting those States which have circumscribed transgender rights.

Irrefutably, the US extends its services to all the developing countries as well to align them with developed ones.

America’s generosity extends to the economic prosperity of the other developing nations and other stern issues of global warming, poverty, and illiteracy.

The State has also served Pakistan in the fields of energy, agriculture, health, education, gender equality & female empowerment, country development cooperation strategy, and partnership opportunities.

The State’s services to education, I believe are commendable in the form of the student exchange programs, scholarships, e-libraries and cultural exchange programs.

Coming towards the recent initiative of America, I must say that there is a need to develop a world charter for transgender community rights, to address their issues without any delay and to protect them from the public gaze of loathing and ‘othering’.

There is a need to address their educational rights on an advanced level so that they obtain a reverent means of support and livelihood.

The US can do this because it has the power to convince the world, to gather the world on the same page, and talk in this chapter on transgender rights.

With a bit of luck, in coming times, there would be a real comfort zone by obliterating all gender markers including X for the amity of gender non-conforming, non-binary people, and those who do not want to reveal their sex. Certainly, it will bring the happiest realms with advanced equality.

—The writer is Lecturer in English Literature at GC University Faisalabad and an advisory member of the literary think-tank.