The transgender community is suffering from an existential crisis in Pakistan since the birth of the country. Instead of accepting them as a formidable part, our society has mostly humiliated and insulted them because they don’t fit the heteronormative aspects of gender.

The patriarchal mindset affects this community the most. Due to continuous psychological pressures, transgenders took social roles and jobs that society enforced on them. Majority transgenders strained themselves to accept that their existence in this world is not less than a curse and so they can either become a dancer, a beggar, or a sex worker. Except for these jobs, there is nothing else for them to do in Pakistan because the remaining jobs are specified for ladies and gents only. This, unfortunately, is still a distasteful truth of our society’s behavior.

But gradually people are starting to speak against gender inequality and repression, which has created some ruckus in terms of social alleviation. And, despite so much criticism, social pressure, and oppression, people like Almaas Bobi and Mavia Malik became shining symbols of hope for other transgender persons in the country.

These two transgenders motivated thousands of pessimists in their own community. They showed them that they can also show this world their abilities if they have the resolve to do so. The concept of “symbolic value” has always shown its strength here the most. For instance, the appreciation Mavia received recently as the first transgender newsreader in Pakistan shows that acceptance towards this community is gradually on the rise. Mavia is a symbol of hope for the transgender community and she shows how providing opportunities for her community can help them mounds.

An example of Mavia’s “symbolic value” is the recently inaugurated school for the transgender community, just after her appearance as a newscaster on television. An NGO called Exploring Future Foundation has taken a remarkable step for the oppressed transgender community and they must be appreciated for it. The ‘Gender Guardian School’ is set to open on April 15 in Lahore and will offer a full 12 years of academic education from primary level to matriculation. A faculty of 15, including 3 transgenders is set to provide educational and vocational training to the marginalized community. This is happening for the very first time in Pakistan and it is expected that soon, Mr. Asif Shahzad, the school’s founder, will inaugurate two more branches in Karachi and Islamabad.

Interestingly, 40 transgender persons have already enrolled in this new school, which shows their interest towards education.

Now we expect that the state will also think about it. There are almost 10,000+ transgenders residing in different areas of Pakistan and like any other citizen, they also deserve equal rights.

It is the responsibility of our state to own this community and give them space in our co-educational schools, colleges, and universities. However, if the state cannot do this, then at least they should provide them their separate education institutions, where proper academic curriculum and technical training should be provided for them. Additionally, teachers should also be equipped to train transgenders psychologically to face societal pressures, which will then slowly but surely fade away. These schools should be of utmost priority so that more transgender persons can prosper like Mavia and be integrated as respected citizens in Pakistan.


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