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Transgender Lives in Pakistan: Their Struggles

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Haider Ali

Transgender individuals, often referred to as “hijras” in Pakistan, have a rich history in the country. However, their lives have been marked by a complex interplay of social, cultural, and legal factors. However studies and field working of the NGO’s in Pakistan have shown critical situation and concerns about their lives.

In thd Past, Hijras have been mentioned in ancient texts, where they held ceremonial roles in royal courts and as blessing bearers at childbirths. However, the British colonial era saw the criminalization of their activities, discrimination and marginalization that continues to affect transgender lives today.

Legal Progress: In recent years, Pakistan has made significant strides in recognizing transgender rights.This landmark legislation also prohibited discrimination and violence against transgender people. Despite these legal advancements, implementation remains a challenge, and many transgender individuals still face discrimination.

In 2018, Pakistan’s Parliament passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, which allows individuals to self-identify their gender on official documents

Social Challenges: Transgender individuals in Pakistan continue to encounter prejudice and discrimination in various aspects of their lives. This discrimination can range from difficulties in securing employment to limited access to healthcare and education. As a result, many of them turn towards performing at birth ceremonies or begging, which can expose them to violence and exploitation.

Community Support: Despite these hardships, transgender individuals in Pakistan have forged a tight-knit community that provides essential support. Many live together in transgender-exclusive households, forming bonds of sisterhood. They rely on each other for emotional support, protection, and a sense of belonging.

Visibility and Activism: In recent years, transgender activists in Pakistan have been instrumental in raising awareness about the challenges faced by their community. Through media appearances, advocacy, and awareness campaigns, they have challenged stereotypes and fought for their rights. Prominent transgender activists like Kami Sid and Nayyab Ali have become symbols of resilience and empowerment.

Transgender individuals in Pakistan have made significant strides towards recognition and acceptance, but they still face many challenges. While legal protections have been established, their full implementation is an ongoing battle. Social stigma and discrimination persist, making it crucial for society to continue evolving towards greater inclusion and understanding of transgender lives.

The writer is a student of BS Journalism studies at Punjab University and can be reached at:[email protected].

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