Transgender Rights In Pakistan

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People who identify as transgender often have been, and still are mistreated and discriminated against throughout the world. Discrimination against any group of people usually stems from a lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to who that person, or people, on a fundamental level. Identifying as transgender is described as a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

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This can be a hard and difficult truth to come to terms with for many young men and women who deny that they are born to be and lead normal lives in an attempt to suppress who they truly are. (?) Those in the community who have accepted and recognized themselves completely, often go through painful surgeries to be closer to the gender they identify as. For example, this is the case for young transgender women in Pakistan, who complete transitional surgeries without anesthesia. It takes an immense amount of courage and bravery to stand up in front of the people they love and share their innermost thoughts. With the social stigma surrounding transgenders in Pakistan many young people are shunned from their families and denied basic rights due to gender that they have chosen.

Recently, Transgender rights in Pakistan were essentially nonexistent. Not only were transgender rights not established, but also no lesbian, gay, or bisexual rights implemented at all. In Pakistan, which is deeply set in religious and conservative values, many LGBT rights were and still are widely considered taboo. This belief is unfortunately nothing new, the Pakistan Penal Code of 1860, developed under colonialism, punishes sodomy with a possible prison sentence under the guise of protecting public morality and order. Although this act is not uniformly prosecuted in the country the LGBT community must go about their normal lives in secret. People identifying as someone of the LGBT community are still able to organize, date, and live together as couples but must do so in secret due to the discrimination, disapproval, and social stigma stemming from oppressive religious beliefs. These beliefs are widely held in leadership roles throughout the country with no civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is, of course, also held in laws permitting same sex marriage or civil unions.

The thought of transgender rights were considered laughable by the majority of people in Pakistan. Transgenders were nothing but a bad omen that could curse a business or a person, people who were nothing more than freaks of nature whose place was to dance for the entertainment of others. People identifying with a third gender are often denied jobs, places to live, and sometimes even simple services. A transgender activist, by the name of Alisha, was shot six times and when brought to a hospital by her friend Farzana Jan.

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