Let us redefine ourselves before judging those redefining their gender.
The wave of hate crimes against the LGBT community has crashed more often than we would like onto our shores and now even in Pakistan. It seems as if every minority group has been targeted; recently, hate crimes have been geared towards transgenders. The transgender community is under constant attack and has been suppressed on social media and in public, ultimately leading to murder, rape, and violence.
According to the Toronto Star, “The Pakistani Supreme Court has designated transgender people as a third gender, which under law should afford them protection but in practice, Kamran Arif, vice-president of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said transgender people bear the brunt of some of the worst discrimination.” Many fear for their life and are in danger with every step they take. Umair Ali of The Diplomat elaborates, “Some of the most critical issues that the transgender community faces today include sexual and physical violence, lack of access to health case, and the lack of funds for the transgender community in social welfare schemes.”
The struggle to gain rights has been a rollercoaster ride for Pakistani transgenders. Nevertheless, their first milestone was achieved in 2009 when the Pakistani Supreme Court addressed Khaki v Rawalpindi. This groundbreaking case raised the status of transgenders in light of the discrimination the population faced on a daily basis. Despite all these efforts, very little was done to enforce such policies. Five people were murdered on the topic even after the landmark decision.
A 25-year-old transgender activist named Alisha was shot 8 times simply because of her view on supporting those who were transgendered. It is apparent that the violence against the group is rooted so deep and goes as far as to those who even support transgenders in our society. Despite the dire need for surgery, many doctors were reluctant to participate in her recovery due to her position on redefining sex. Shockingly, medics at the hospital are also accused of sexually harassing the members of the group who accompanied Alisha.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only instance where innocent people were killed because of their gender reassignment. As we look at this example in Pakistan, we must also note that the transgender group suffers in all areas of the world. Instead of worrying about how others define themselves, let us find solace that differences exist in lifestyles, beliefs, and happiness. The shadow of violence left behind after the transgender martyrs should imprint a profound scar on people all around the world, regardless of race or religion. We must remember that this shadow is eclipsed by fear. Once we collectively include transgender people back into our culture, only then will that light shine again.