Transgenders In Pakistan

Transgenders In Pakistan

Transgenders in Pakistan face severe discrimination, stigma and systemic inequality. To discuss or even to interact with a transgender is considered a taboo in our part of the world. They are called extremely derogatory names due to certain misconceptions in our society that pollute the minds of our younger generation.

I will not get into the intricacies of the above-mentioned plight but shall try to touch on the everyday issues and stigma faced by the majority of transgenders.

Transgenders in Pakistan lack the basic necessities that might be available to other genders who are citizens of Pakistan. Transgenders lack the necessary legal protection allowing them to live their lives as prescribed by the Higher Being. They are treated as the scum of society, and their very existence is frowned upon. They are considered outcasts, bewitched, clairvoyant and capable of casting evil and misfortune if gone against.

What I am unable to comprehend is how people can plaster such a contention against a person based on their genitals. If a person’s genitalia does not conform with the norm, what makes him or her so obnoxiously different that it gives that specific person some supernatural powers to cast an evil eye.

How can genetic and hormonal syndromes, which affect sexual architecture, give a human being the powers to be able to transcend the bounds of sanity? How can, for instance, Klinefelter’s Syndrome (having male external and internal genitalia), intersexuality (being born with characteristics of both sexes), and Kwolu-aatmwol (having ambiguous genitals), give a person the powers to foretell the future or the ability to jinx others?

The aforementioned just does not make sense. It is a thought-process that has been inculcated in the subcontinent over the years and requires much-needed thought and education of the masses so that they are able to make informed statements, based on logic and reasoning.

A majority of transgenders in Pakistan is poverty-stricken since transgenders are not provided with the opportunity to educate themselves. Many have to rely on sex-work to be able to eat and live the dismal lifestyle that is enforced upon them.

The everyday harassment and stigma they have to go through is beyond comprehension. They are considered mentally ill, socially deviant and sexually predatory. Even certain lawmakers who attempt to leverage anti-transgender stigma to score cheap political points plaster other lawmakers as such. By doing this, they might consider themselves above the other, but in fact, they belittle their very own existence.

Most people harass, bully and commit serious violence against transgender people upon learning of their identities and the transgenders ‎have to face numerous barriers when it comes to healthcare. There is no distinguishing section in any of our hospitals or primary care centres for transgenders. Who decides where to treat a certain transgender individual, when the recent identity documents issued to them state their gender only as ‘X’? Will the doctors get busy inspecting their genitalia before assigning them to a certain treatment or ward? They are wasting resources and ignoring the urgency of treatment over such a menial issue.

If the government were to issue identity documents to them based on their genitalia, further stating them as transgenders, it would diminish the time spent trying to decide how and where to treat them and will provide them with their basic right to treatment.

The abysmal treatment and condition of transgenders in Pakistan need a much-needed discussion and requires an overhaul of the relevant laws. Moreover, voice should be raised against the anti-social segregation on part of the government.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any other organization with which he might be associated.

Sami Shah

Author: Sami Shah

The writer is a corporate lawyer and has studied at SOAS University of London. He specializes in corporate governance issues and operates a law practice in Lahore (Sami Shah & Partners) and offices in Toronto and Palos Verdes California.

1 comment

unfortunately its all is fact, our politician and political parties are involved in unnecessary issues

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