Silence on the transgender issue

Jahanzaib Haque June 21, 2010
A recent report by Gallup Pakistan on the attitudes of Pakistanis uncovered that 55% of the population believes transgendered persons should have a special quota in educational institutes and offices,  while at the same time, 60% would not like to be friends with them.

The Express Tribune ran a similar online poll as a follow-up to the report with the question:

“Would you be friends with a transgender person?”

The result at the closing of the poll was an even 50 per cent in favour of befriending a transgender person, and 50 per cent against. Keeping in mind the Tribune’s audience, it is still interesting to note that the Gallup survey was not far off target.

While the poll result may be disappointing in itself, what is perhaps worthy of highlighting is the reversal of the general trend we have seen online, with regards to comments on the news report the web team filed.

For once, the ‘silent majority’ which opinion makers often cite as waiting in the wings to build a more progressive Pakistan stepped forward to lead the debate. To cite a few:

Dr Adnan:
Our people are far too intolerant about the LGBT society. I think they have the right to Study, Health Care, Jobs etc so they can earn themselves a honest living, instead of involving themselves in Sex Trade, Begging etc.

Amjad Salim:
our society is highly intolerant,prejudiced and bigoted.We are afraid of what is different & we all want to conform to the traditional,stereotyped images when it comes to religion,gender etc.

We have decided that unisex are obliged to beg or be sex workers or to dance in the weddings and being treated so coldly, we have decided and allocated the role status and freedoms of Qadyanis that they have to sign and take oaths anyway and so do we have to prove that we are not them, this society is at the lowest point of moral deprivity and we must realize and accept that, but we wont.

They also are Allah’s creation and we should treat them with love and respect.

In fact, the story did not receive even one derogatory/inflammatory remark meriting moderation.Taking a positive leap of faith, it seems our society has evolved to the point where the 50/50 attitude on the transgender issue is tipping in favour of a more progressive frame of mind – one which, through increased exposure in the media is silencing the voice of those who would assign job quotas to fellow human beings but refuse to befriend them in the workplace.

The silence in this one instance is quite comforting.
Jahanzaib Haque The writer is web editor, The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.