While the United States (US) and many other parts of the world are observing Transgender Awareness Week to highlight the social and medical issues faced by the transgender people, the situation appears unchanged for the Pakistani transgender community.
Only yesterday, the media was abuzz with the reports on horrendous torture on transgender women in Sialkot by the notorious Jajja Butt gang. The news hit the media after a video showing Jajja violently torturing a transgender woman after forcefully stripping her. He kept humiliating the transgender woman while she begged for mercy. I couldn’t collect enough courage to watch the whole video so I skipped through it and only read descriptions of it in the media.
Progress on Sialkot transgender bashing case
The good news is, the Sialkot police has arrested most of those involved in the brutality including the prime gangster Jajja who was clearly visible in the viral video and has promised they will be brought to justice.
Sialkot transgender women confront torturers
Another video that went viral today shows the victims confronting the culprits in custody. This brief video sums up the plight of the transgender community in Pakistan pretty nicely as one transgender woman breaks into tears asking the culprits is it their fault that they are born this way and that who should they go for justice when even those who gave them birth abandoned them. She went on to beg the police not to release the culprits.
While there is no celebration and glittery cheering for the Pakistani transgender community on the Transgender Awareness Week, nor are they asking for it, the community remains on quest of the very basic of human rights and recognition any human being is entitled to.
Society’s lack of acceptance despite clerics’ appeal
The society doesn’t appear to be ready to accept the transgender community any time soon even though score of religious clerics have already spoken in favour of the community. A batch of scholars even surprised so many across the world when earlier this year they approved of transgender persons’ right to marry. Even then there’s not much changed in the society. I am not in anyway saying what clerics have done is enough but it’s a start.
Regardless of any events in the western world, the transgender community in Pakistan must come together to form their own indigenous movement and work towards reclaiming what’s theirs. There are already a number of community based organizations that are quite active in campaigning for the rights such as TransAction Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but it’s not enough.
And us as non-transgender persons need to be sensitive, supportive and understanding instead of mocking them. Awareness is a huge issue and for that the government sector, non-government organizations and more clerics need to come together and play their part in creating awareness.