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Lahore
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
EditorialLiving on the fringe

Living on the fringe

The transgender community is forced to live on the fringes owing to the discrimination they face at the hands of the society. Often disowned by their own family members, they have been victims of rape, and other kinds of violence. The latest reported incident of violence against the community has exposed a vicious culture of crime that breathes in an urban centre like Karachi. On September 19, a mob of men tried to crash a birthday party of a member of the community in an attempt to kidnap and gang-rape anyone they could get their hands on. The incident was reported by Dr Muhammad Moiz, who was part of the guest list, and had witnessed around 12 men on bikes at the gate trying to enter the farmhouse at Gadap. When he tried to confront them, Dr Moiz was attacked, while some men tried to abduct him. Help from the farmhouse next door and quick action by the police had saved his life and of others from the transgender community who had locked themselves inside after being alerted about the men at the gate.

The incident led to a protest on Friday by the community members, demanding an end to Beela violence. The term Beela is used by the trans people for those who perpetrate violence against them for rejecting their coercive sexual behaviour. This is the second year in a row that witnessed a demonstration being held by the community but the relevant authorities are nowhere to be found to try and put a stop at this horrific abuse. During the police investigation for the September 19 incident, it was discovered that videos of torture and rape against the trans people are sold in numbers. It is then the responsibility of the government to dismantle this mafia and take action against such sick-minded individuals. Even though, the community is protected by the constitution with laws, such as, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017 in place, but implementation of it is a rare as violence against the community members is often met with indifference or even ridicule by those in a position to help. Thus, law in itself is insufficient to eradicate the social evils. The state and more importantly, the society has to be proactive in advocating for the community and educating others to treat them as equals.

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