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Transgenders’ education

     By Haris Ali

Transgender also called as ‘third sex’, eunuch, unique or Khawaja Sara are considered as derogatory and inferior creatures in our society,They were recognized legally for the first time in the history of Pakistan in 2009 when Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry passed the order of including the category of ‘third gender’ in the national identity card form. The same Chief Justice in 2012 issued the order of giving the right of vote to transgender who wrote history by casting their votes in the General Elections of 2013 for the very first time in the history of Pakistan.

Although, it is a good initiative to give rights to transgender but they are still not treated equally by the members of society. They live in poverty and an extremely miserable situation and largely depend on a livelihood of singing and dancing at weddings and birth celebrations.The major reason of their inferior condition is the lack of proper education for transgender. In fact the typical mindset of people is such that the subject of Transgender rights is not even discussed in sophisticated circles. Transgender community is considered as a sign of shame and disgrace in Pakistani culture. Most of these individuals never get a chance to acquire education in the regular schools due to discriminatory treatment and disgusting attitude of the school administration, fellow students and also because the concerns of the parents of normal students. Parents hold the stance that such students may cause negative impacts on the minds of their children. In this way the behavior and attitude of their may be effected. Most of the schools administrations are also of the view that the ‘third sex’ students may cause a sense of insecurity among the fellow students.

However studies show that transgender students are victimized and are harassed by other students. According to the survey report of Greytak, Kosciw, and Daiz in 2009, more than 85% were being verbally harassed and heard derogatory remarks. More than 50% reported being physically harassed e.g. pushed or shoved in school. More than 25% reported being physically assaulted e.g. punched, kicked or injured with a weapon. More than half of these students reported being missed at least one day of school each month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable at schools. Another survey report of Trans Student Equality Resources in 2013 confirms that 80% of transgender students reported feeling unsafe at school. Hence the argument that there is insecurity among other students because of transgender comes to the end with having a look at these survey reports.

The other argument that parents and school administration present is that the transgender students may cause negative impacts on the minds of normal children and affect their behavior. This is an extremely lame argument. A typical high school has all kinds of students including smokers, drinkers, gamblers, loose talkers, superstitious, devil minded, meddlesome, lustful students etc. Can’t such students put negative impacts on their class mates? If yes, then why parents, school administration and society not concerned about such students but are only concerned about those who are as such only because of the will of Allah Almighty.

In this way the transgender students are not allowed to study in regular schools, and separate schools are also not available for them. As a result they remain uneducated and are seen begging along the roadsides. No serious steps have been taken by the government yet to enroll them into the educational institutions or to develop a sense of security among those who are trying to adjust themselves into regular schools. Therefore, this uneducated group is confined to a separate colony where they live in extreme poverty.

Hence discrimination and derogatory and vulgar remarks from inhabitants and school mates lead them to fly from normal educational institutions, thus closing the doors of honorable employment. They are compelled to adopt such means of earning which is in no case are acceptable in Islam and are also not honored by any society in the world. 

According to an estimate, every 1 of 50 students is transgender. In other words, there are 2% transgender persons in Pakistan. Perhaps the current census of 2017 will be able to tell us the exact numbers of transgender in Pakistan. Hence by keeping that numbers in mind, there should be allocation of special seats for transgender in schools. Moreover the option of separate schools for that community should also be considered.

Although Pakistan has been one of the few countries which has recognized them legally and constitutionally guaranteed them equal rights. But it is just an initiative. Work needs to be done to change the attitudes and mindset of people about that community. Special seminars should be arranged to make people realize that they are equal to other members of society and should be treated on humanitarian basis. The orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan to give them equal rights should be practically practiced.

We should understand that literacy rate in this community is very low not because of financial constraints but mainly due to lack of family support and social hatred. Increase in literacy level is not possible until and unless the government fixes a quota in all public and private institutions to accommodate ‘third gender’, financially support them and create an accommodating environment. The law should prohibit and punish those who are harassing or making fun of them at educational or professional institutes.

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