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Rights for transgender community

Although efforts are being made globally to integrate the transgender community into the society, the community still faces problems even in the most developed countries. In Pakistan, the terrible condition of the trans-community is evident from the fact that they are reduced to a symbol of mockery in the society. Recently, a group of women and transgender rights activists have urged the government to take practical steps for the protection of transgender and other vulnerable communities and take notice of the “unconstitutional discrimination the transgender community faces at public and private healthcare facilities”.

The transgender community has lived for far too long under the discrimination which deprives them even of their basic human rights. So far, their sufferings are unending as reports continue to surface about the persecution of this section of society. There is a need to fix historic injustices done to this marginalised community in Pakistan. It is no secret that transgender people in Pakistan like other minority communities live in a state of perpetual shame and ridicule. Societal attitude towards them leaves them with very few options. They are in-practice barred from entering any mainstream profession, and hence for their survival they have little choice but to mould themselves in the stereotype expected of them in order to get a meagre means of living. Their entire social network gets circumscribed within the profession of begging, dancing, and prostitution, and this leaves them vulnerable to those looking to earn profit from their misery. To make matters worse, even state officials on ground are apathetic to their plight, as they largely have the same attitude towards them as the society at large.

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Transgender individuals need to be mainstreamed in Pakistan, not just through the provision of equal opportunities, but also through breaking the de facto barriers that so often prevent them from doing so. The solution to fixing societal attitude towards them may not be as straightforward, but it must be kept in mind that the attitude is due to a fundamentally asymmetric power relationship. Transgender persons are ridiculed with impunity because they are weak. Once that changes, it can be expected that the attitude would change as well. This means that empowerment of the transgender community must be the fundamental objective of any policy devised for them.

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