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

In a recent incident in Pakistan, Alisha, a transgender woman was succumbed to her injuries after the hospital staffs delayed the treatment by arguing whether to shift her to male ward or female ward.

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  • Pakistan still does not have a proper law for the transgenders
  • Indian law has accepted the presence of a third gender as of 2012
  • USA is considered as the best country for transgenders to live

Even today in Asian countries like Pakistan and India transgender people go through a lot abuse and oppression. They are always picked upon and even though society has recognised their presence but still people perceive them badly.

https://youtu.be/oe4EW0h4mcs

But Indian law has accepted the presence of a third gender as of 2012 , according to that everybody is equal before law and  one has right to choose their gender identity and cannot be discriminated  on the basis of gender.

Pakistan still has no law for their fellow transgender people or widely known as ‘khawaja sara’ in their region. Pakistan still follows the law created during 1860s by the British Raj, after independence in 1947 they changed its name to Pakistan penal code and has not made any changes in law regarding LGBT. Though Supreme Court in 2009 ordered the government to issue an identity card which has a ‘third gender’ category for its non-binary citizens.

Firdos a Khawaja sara from the Pak says that her life as transgender was very difficult from the start. At the age of seven she was robbed of her innocence and since then has been toyed many people to fulfil their desires. Even the son who she adopted and gave all the love of world felt ashamed of her after becoming old and severed all ties with her.  Imagine the magnitude of pain she must have felt.

Life had reduced a graduate to beg for survival. Yes, Firdos has a degree. Her latest occupation became to educate her two grandsons that her son had abandoned. She is currently focused on educating them and freeing them from the poverty that has dictated her life.

Firdos’ story is just one of many and To help these type people Dr Saima, Khawaja sara  has launched a project Khawaja Sara rehabilitation program which aims lift people like firdos from the bottom the society .

According to the research by Dr Saima most khawaja saras begin to regret their birth as a single biggest mistake of their life which is very sad. But Many in Pakistan call Khawaja Sara’ s to their marriages , naming ceremony  as  they believe  Khawaja sara’s have power of  blessing and what they say becomes true. This belief is also present in some parts of India.

In a recent incident in Pakistan, Alisha, a transgender woman was succumbed to her injuries after the hospital staffs delayed the treatment by arguing whether to shift her to male ward or female ward. The 23-year-old was a trans activist in the city of Peshawar and was shot seven times on May 22.

Alisha_insert_courtesy_Neengar_Society
Alisha, a transgender woman who was shot in Pakistan, succumbed to her injuries on May 25, 2016. (Photo courtesy of the Neengar Society) Washington Post

According to Washingtonblade.com reports- Last week, Muhammad Falak, president of the Neengar Society, a group that advocates for marginalized Pakistanis said to the news portal in an email that Alisha was shot six times by a man who raped her and “tried to kill her.”

While the scenario is a bit different in America. Today USA is considered as country which provides most benefits to its fellow transgender people. America has also created separate washrooms named as all gender where transgender can go. This step was taken to reduce the discrimination and abuse from the general people as washroom is a place where generally transgender people are abused and made them feel ashamed.

Countries like Germany, New Zealand, and Australia have always welcome transgender and countries like Argentina, Malta, Denmark, Columbia, Ireland and Vietnam have started to recognise transgender as third gender in their constitution. Slowly but steadily many countries will follow the footstep of these.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication and a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter handle: bhaskar_ragha

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  • Pritam Go Green

    In India conditions are much better than that of Pakistan. If one is not even identified by law then what defines his/her existence in the country. Pakistan should treat them as a third gender.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Pakistan needs to make laws which protect their citizens. As it is Pak has a very bad habit of discouraging women and keeping them tied in all circumstances. There should be proper laws for third genders

  • devika todi

    USA has set itself as a standard in this matter. Pakistan should follow in its footsteps so that the transgenders do not face discrimination. I believe this is the discrimination of the worst kind and it should be stopped immediately.

SHARE
  • Pritam Go Green

    In India conditions are much better than that of Pakistan. If one is not even identified by law then what defines his/her existence in the country. Pakistan should treat them as a third gender.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Pakistan needs to make laws which protect their citizens. As it is Pak has a very bad habit of discouraging women and keeping them tied in all circumstances. There should be proper laws for third genders

  • devika todi

    USA has set itself as a standard in this matter. Pakistan should follow in its footsteps so that the transgenders do not face discrimination. I believe this is the discrimination of the worst kind and it should be stopped immediately.

Next Story

The Attention Shifts To The U.S. As It Strikes Down FGM Law

Looking beyond the Michigan case, Jones said the key to stopping FGM isn’t just legislation but also education.

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FILE - A T-shirt warns against female genital mutilation. Its wearer attends an event, discouraging harmful practices such as FGM, at a girls high school in Imbirikani, Kenya, April 21, 2016.Image source: VOA

When a U.S. district judge last month ruled a federal ban on female genital mutilation unconstitutional, he undercut the federal government and alarmed anti-FGM activists, who hope to eradicate the practice.

The World Health Organization calls FGM, also known as female circumcision, a human rights violation of women and girls, with no health benefits.

Some 200 million women and girls around the world, mainly in Africa, have experienced FGM, the WHO says.

In his opinion, Judge Bernard Friedman called FGM “despicable,” but also “a local criminal activity” that must be addressed at the state level. In enacting a federal law, he said, Congress overstepped.

Now, local lawmakers, advocates and newspapers are calling for state bans that equal or surpass the scope of the federal law that was struck down.

Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, judge
A badge reads “The power of labor against FGM” is seen on a volunteer during a conference on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 6, 2018. (VOA)

‘Never again’

The case Friedman ruled on centers around Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency room physician accused of performing FGM on at least 100 girls in Michigan for more than a decade.

Prosecutors have focused their case on nine girls, aged 7 to 12, from three states. The girls allegedly were subjected to FGM with the aid of Nagarwala and seven others, including the girls’ mothers.

Defense attorneys say the procedure amounted to only a “nick” on the girls performed as part of a religious ritual — not FGM. But they also argued in July that the federal law banning FGM is unconstitutional.

State Senator Rick Jones, who represents Michigan’s 24th district, told VOA by phone that he was shocked to learn about Nagarwala’s case and strongly disagrees with Friedman’s ruling.

Last year, Jones became the spokesperson for a package of bills outlawing FGM statewide. The legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Female Circumcision, FGM
The barbaric practice of genitalia mutilation has been banned in developed nations. Wikimedia

Now, Michigan has some of the toughest FGM laws in the country.

Health-care providers convicted of performing FGM face up to 15 years in prison, along with the permanent loss of their medical licenses. Parents who take their daughters to doctors to be cut can lose custody.

The 1996 federal law, meanwhile, stipulated up to five years in prison and fines for medical providers who perform FGM.

“We wanted to send a strong message around the world: Never again bring your girls to Michigan for this horrible procedure,” Jones said.

Across the U.S., 27 states have passed laws banning FGM, many of which have been written in recent years and include penalties that go beyond the federal law, which also criminalizes so-called “vacation cutting,” the practice of taking girls out of the United States to have FGM performed overseas.

News organizations are among those pushing for an expansion of state laws. Last month, the Seattle Times editorial board called for a ban in Washington, one of 23 states yet to outlaw FGM.

FGM
A doctor checks her phone as she poses for a photograph in Mumbai, India, June 8, 2016. The 50-year-old woman defends what is widely considered female genital mutilation within her small, prosperous Dawoodi Bohra community in India. VOA

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times editorial board said all 50 states should ban the “barbaric” practice, in light of Friedman’s ruling.

Religious ritual?

The health-care providers and families involved in the Michigan case belong to Dawoodi Bohra, a Shi’ite Muslim sect based in India with about 2 million followers worldwide.

According to a study published earlier this year, FGM, called khafd in Dawoodi Bohra communities, is widespread in the sect and involves cutting the clitoral hood or part of the clitoris, without an anesthetic, when girls turn seven.

The study, commissioned by WeSpeakOut, an advocacy group focused on eradicating khafd, also found that three-quarters of Dawoodi Bohra women have experienced FGM.

The severity and nature of FGM can vary.

Health-care providers have identified four types of FGM. Khafd involves Type 1 FGM. Other types involve removing all of the external genitalia and narrowing the vaginal opening.

Jones rejects the idea that there’s a religious basis for the procedure, however it’s performed.

FGM
FILE – A counselor holds up cards used to educate women about female genital mutilation (FGM). VOA

“Across the world, this has been practiced by Christians, pagans, Muslims, even a small Jewish sect in Ethiopia,” he said.

“This is not about a religion,” he added. “This is about men attempting to control women’s behavior by this horrible procedure.”

The WHO identifies both short-term and permanent harms associated with the practice. Immediate concerns include severe pain, infections and, in some cases, death. Long term, women and girls subjected to FGM face a range of physiological and psychological complications that can affect menstruation, childbirth and sexual health.

The United States has been unequivocal in condemning the practice, saying “the U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, and a form of gender-based violence and child abuse” on a fact sheet posted to the Citizenship & Immigration Services website.

Education and legislation

Friedman’s November decision is the latest in a series of setbacks for prosecutors.

Nagarwala spent seven months in 2017 in jail before 16 friends posted a $4.5 million unsecured bond, against the pleas of prosecutors, who argued Nagarwala could silence potential witnesses or even flee the country if released.

FGM
KAMELI, KENYA – AUGUST 12: A Masaai villager displays the traditional blade used to circumcise young girls August 12, 2007 in Kameli, Kenya. Maasai are a pastoral group mostly clustered in the Rift Valley. They practice circumcision on both boys and girls during puberty years as a rite of passage to adulthood. VOA

And in January, the judge dismissed charges that Nagarwala and a second doctor, Fakhruddin Attar, transported minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, an offense that carries a lifetime sentence.

Nagarwala still faces conspiracy and obstruction charges that could result in decades in prison.

The trial is now set to begin next April, the Detroit Free Press reported last month. However, the prosecution could appeal last month’s decision, drawing