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Transgender community wants free sex-change surgery

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Thiruvananthapuram: The members of India’s transgender (TG) community on Friday expressed their concern over mounting expenses involved in sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in the country, demanding government’s look over this matter to make the procedure of surgery absolutely free.

At the ongoing International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE-2015) being held here, participating members also called for ways to create better awareness on gender status to curb a general tendency to ridicule and harass TGs.

Sonu Niranjan, a TG who works as a training officer at Bengaluru, called upon authorities to make SRS devoid of fees for people desiring to change sex.

I come from a very humble background. When I began facing several objections and abuses about my gender, I decided to change myself from female to a man. I was surprised that the expenses amounted to around Rs.3 lakh. I request the government to help our community and make the surgery free of cost,

She said that the doctors should be given proper awareness about gender change.

On completion of my surgery, I felt that doctors were experimenting with my body as well as my feelings. There should be a proper counselling session for the doctors in this regard,

Noted activist Akkai Padmashali also spoke on similar lines.
“Who decides that we are third genders? If society is deciding it, we call them as patriarchal one,” said Padmashali, who has been nominated for Rajyotsava Award, the second highest civilian award by the Karnataka government.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Pakistan’s First Transgender News Anchor

"There is a lot of difference between the pre- and post-March 23 Marvia. It had to happen. The change had to come,"

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transgender news anchor
Marvia Malik, Pakistan's first transgender news anchor. VOA

Washington, March 25 TV viewers in Pakistan, on March 23, saw something they had never seen before —a transgender anchor presenting the news in prime time.

Despite this giant leap, Marvia Malik, the first and only transgender news anchor in the country, said the difficulties faced by people like her in Pakistan are far from over.

“I am a journalism degree holder, but I faced the same difficulties [as] the transgender people who simply beg or dance in the streets,” Malik told VOA in a phone interview.

ALSO READ: A Tale of Resilience and Courage: India’s First Transgender Judge Joyita Mondal

transgender, lgbt, news anchor
In a country such as Pakistan, it is common to mock transgender people, who are expected to earn their livelihood mainly by dancing, begging or working in the sex trade. Pixabay

The most daunting task for them is getting a respectable job. But Malik said if more entrepreneurs and businesses showed more courage in breaking the social taboos as her employer, “Kohenoor News,” things can change.

“Like other trans people, I did not get any support from my family.On my own, I did some menial jobs and continued my studies. I had always wanted to be a news anchor, and my dream came true when I got selected,” she said.

Junaid Ansari, owner of the TV station, told VOA that Malik was not selected because the station wanted to make a point about breaking taboos. Ansari said he instructed his team to make the selection on the basis of merit and not gender.

ALSO READ: Here’s why Being a Transgender is the biggest regret in Pakistan

transgender, lgbt, news anchor
“We had asked aspiring news presenters to come for the auditions. I got a call from one of my team members who said that one of the applicants was a transgender,” Ansari said. Pixabay

There was some pushback from his team, but Ansari stuck to his decision.

“They are human beings, too, and they should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. I purely made the decision on the basis of treating all humans equally.The thought of challenging the social norms or breaking taboos did not even come to my mind,” Ansari said.

Ansari said feedback regarding Malik’s hiring has been mostly positive, though the station has received some negative feedback.

ALSO READ: Is US military looking forward to recruiting transgender people?

transgender, lgbt, news anchor
In Pakistan’s Twittersphere and other social media platforms, people are praising Malik’s selection, calling it a step in the right direction. Pixabay

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s Senate approved a bill for the protection of transgender rights. The bill asked the government to ensure employment opportunities and easy installment loans for transgender people.

According to the 2017 census, there are over 10,000 transgender people in Pakistan, a number some people say is much higher.

In the meantime, Malik is enjoying her instant fame.

“There is a lot of difference between the pre- and post-March 23 Marvia. It had to happen. The change had to come,” she said. VOA