Humans first: ‘No one wants to dance in streets or beg for alms’

Speakers stress need for legislative cover

Our Correspondent December 30, 2015

FAISALABAD: The government must provide transgender individuals with their due and strive to protect them by promulgating comprehensive legislation, speakers at a consultative meeting on Tuesday said.

Peace and Human Development Foundation director Suneel Malik said the foundation’s free and equal campaign aimed to raise awareness about fair treatment and respect for transgender individuals and rally support for measures needed to be taken to secure their rights and put an end to discrimination and violence against them.

“Due to lack of legislation, the community has been grappling with a series of challenges. This is so because the relevant Supreme Court ruling is yet to be implemented,” he said.

Muskaan, a transgender individual, said the community was the most neglected, vulnerable and ostracised of the society. Muskaan said such individuals remained bereft of family support, social recognition, education and employment opportunities. Muskaan said they were confronted by widespread discrimination and violence and supported by neither the state nor any other community.

Muskaan said this fostered a profound feeling of deprivation among their ranks.

Mona, another transgender individual, said the community suffered on account of familial, state and communitarian apathy. “No one wants to dance on streets or beg for alms. Transgender individuals must be accepted as equal beings and be provided job opportunities to enable them to lead dignified lives,” Mona said.

Rights activist Asher Iqbal said the government had to introduce vocational training courses for transgender individuals. He said this would equip them with the skills needed to earn their livelihood in a befitting manner.

Peace activist Shafiq Sharif said all political parties were yet to formulate a policy to remedy the challenges confronting transgender individuals. He said it was imperative for the community to be adequately represented in politics to highlight its problems.

Rights activist Zafar Iqbal said the government needed to devise and effectively implement a comprehensive policy to secure transgender individual’s right to education, employment, security and political emancipation.

Peace activist Irfan Gill said the community would only be integrated into mainstream society if the people accepted them as human beings and treated them accordingly.

The event was organised by the Peace and Human Development Foundation.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2015.


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