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.
According to an activist member of the community, 45 transgender people have
been killed and 300 suffered harassment in the last two years in KPK alone.
Every day, members of this community suffer humiliation in one form or the other
as they continue to be ignored in all walks of life such as education, health
and employment in the government sector.
In the 21st century, they have been deprived of their basic rights such as the
Right to Education. Majority of the transgender people do not get a chance to
pursue education in regular schools. In admission forms, there are only two
gender options: Male and Female. In 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan granted
transgenders a place on the National Identity Cards and pronounced their
inalienable right to get education but no provincial government has so far
succeeded in implementing this decision.
Similarly, society’s behavior toward this community continues to be shameful.
Most of us do not even consider them human beings. Even their parents and
families do not consider them as their children. Majority of these individuals
have no other option but to dance and sing in public spaces to earn a living.
Government and other law enforcement agencies such as police are supposed to
provide protection to all citizens but unfortunately government has been
unwilling to take sincere action in this matter. Police itself is complicit in
brutalizing and roughing up transgenders when they go to a Police Station to
file a report. It is the responsibility of government to provide protection to
them not only from citizens but also from the supposed protectors.
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
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
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.