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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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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

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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

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“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?

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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

Next Story

Patients Going Through Gender-Transition Treatment At A Grater Risk Of Cardiac Diseases

Researchers determined and compared the incidence of CVD cases in the transgender population with that reported in the general population. 

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On the other hand, transmen -- those assigned female sex at birth but had male gender identity and received hormones -- had a more than three-fold rise in heart-attack risk compared with women, said the study, published in the journal, Circulation. Pixabay

Patients receiving hormone therapy as part of their gender-transition treatment have an elevated risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including heart attacks, strokes and blood clotting, researchers say.

Researchers determined and compared the incidence of CVD cases in the transgender population with that reported in the general population.

The study showed that transwomen — individuals, assigned male sex at birth but with female gender identity, receiving hormones as part of their transition — had more than twice as many strokes as women and nearly twice as many strokes as men.

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Heart attacks occurred at more than twice the rate among transwomen than women. Pixabay

In addition, there were five times as many blood clotting among transwomen than women and 4.5 times more than men.

Heart attacks occurred at more than twice the rate among transwomen than women.

On the other hand, transmen — those assigned female sex at birth but had male gender identity and received hormones — had a more than three-fold rise in heart-attack risk compared with women, said the study, published in the journal, Circulation.

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In addition, there were five times as many blood clotting among transwomen than women and 4.5 times more than men. 
Pixabay

“In the light of our results, we urge both physicians and transgender individuals to be aware of this increased cardiovascular risk,” said Nienke Nota, researcher at the Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Also Read: Push-ups Can Lower The Risk of Heart Diseases

“It may be helpful to reduce the risk factors by stopping smoking, exercising, eating a healthy diet and losing weight, if needed before starting therapy, and clinicians should continue to evaluate patients on an ongoing basis thereafter,” suggested Nota.

For the study, the researchers included 3,875 individuals who had received hormone treatment — 2,517 transgender women received estrogen, with or without androgen-suppressors, and 1,358 transgender men received testosterone — as part of their transition. (IANS)