In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognize the third gender. The former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry, ruled this decision, allowing transgender to obtain their identity cards and caste vote. Despite this progressive step, the transgender community faced the same attitude from the society of Pakistan. From independence till 2018, transgender had been seen whether with amorous look or as Dancers, or beggars. They were not treated more than this. Even many times, libertines of society used to harass transgender. That Pakistani society just recognized two genders, and any gender other than those had no right to live respectfully in the society. Many of the transgender were killed because of the stereotypical thinking of society. Transgender were being killed just for fun, as happened recently in Peshawar where a transgender was dancing and she was shot dead. The authorities remained silent on it, and transgender community kept on protesting for their rights.

But somehow 2018 ought to be kind of successful year for transgender in Pakistan. By the end of 2017, nobody in Pakistan had thought that their country is going to be giving chances to ‘Third Gender’. In February 2018, the Senate of Pakistan determined that the transgender can inherit property without a medical board deciding their gender. Moreover, their protection and their gender identity to be ensured were also in that bill.The first transgender newscaster of Pakistan, Marvia Malik, came live on 23rd March 2018.

transgender reporter - Is Pakistani Society “TOLERATING” Trans-genders?
Marvia Malik The First Transgender newscaster in Pakistan. Photo: BBC

First time in the history of Pakistan, ECP allowed the willing 13 transgender to show candidacy for General Elections of Pakistan 2018, two from National Assembly and rest from provincial assemblies. In 2018 elections, transgender community got the right to vote. Ayesha Gulalai issued ticket to four transgender to participate in the general elections.

Ayesha Gulalai issued ticket to four transgender to participate in the general elections 1 1024x768 - Is Pakistani Society “TOLERATING” Trans-genders?
Ayesha Gulalai during a press conference announcing that four transgender persons will be contesting general elections. Photo: Pakistan Today.

Muniba Mazari, an activist and Pakistan’s first Goodwill Ambassador to UN Women Pakistan, runs her food drive in Islamabad, and her workers are mostly transgender, giving them way to living.

The Coke Studio Season 11, an international musical franchise, had sponsored two transgender, Lucky and Naghma, to sing song in that series. Their song ‘Balkada’ hit almost 2.5 million views on Youtube in just two weeks.

Balkada by Lucky, Nahma & Jimmy Khan

Recently the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Saqib Nisar, took initiative to recognize the transgender community at government level; by saying “two transgender would be provided jobs in the Supreme Court”. Another recognition given to the transgender community in 2018 was Allama Iqbal Open University, which decided to grant free education from matric to PhD. to the transgender.

So, Is Pakistani Society really ‘TOLERATING’ transgender? The answer now will be a NO. The Pakistani society is more of accepting transgender, rather tolerating them. There still are few backward places where people tolerate them, disrespect them and kill them. But the bigger cities are accepting them as HUMANS. The inclusion of two transgender as workers in the Supreme Court of Pakistan is a proof to it. Pakistani Nation has to give them equal rights, equal justice and equal prestige, so that Pakistan can stand respectable at international level.

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