Roof over their heads: Councillors demand shelter for transgender persons

Say community is marginalised, should be able to live in comfort, provided security

Izhar Ullah May 26, 2016

PESHAWAR: Women members of the Peshawar district council have suggested a shelter should be established in the city for people who are transgender. This would be done to ensure they could live in comfort and security.

On a call to attention notice in the council session, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Salma Saeed said discrimination against transgender persons should not be tolerated at any cost.

She condemned the recent slaying of transgender activist Alisha who was shot multiple times and died due to the alleged negligence of Lady Reading Hospital (LRH)’s management.

Alisha was taken to LRH where the staff was unable to decide whether the victim should be treated in the male or female ward, thus wasting precious time. The death sparked uproar among the transgender community and the issue was widely highlighted on the mainstream and social media.

Saeed raised her concerns over the fact that transgender person were humiliated and harassed by the public.

She requested members of the council to construct a shelter for the city’s transgender community. “The provincial and federal governments could support its establishment,” she said.

Saeed announced she will donate Rs0.1 million for construction of the shelter. She added the home would provide training for the skills required at hairdressing and beauty salons. She added this could help these people earn money.

Mehreen Kamran, of ANP, told The Express Tribune her peers supported the suggestion to construct a shelter.

Kamran also suggested schools should be established for members of the community. However, neither of the men spoke on the matter nor endorsed the suggestion.

Provincial matter

In his response, Naib Nazim Syed Qasim Ali Shah, who was convener at the session, said constructing a shelter for transgender people is a provincial issue, although the council could request the government to look into the matter.

There were only 28 out of 138 members at the session, which was adjourned till coming Tuesday due to the lack of quorum.

Amid inefficiency

Sher Bazam, a member of the council, said the presence of just 28 members portrayed the seriousness of district members and how little they cared for public issues.

PPP’s Malik Firdous lashed out at the Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar (WSSP) and asked their offices be shut down due to poor performance. He said waste materials in rural areas were left standing for days and the body did not bother to collect it from villages.

During the session, employees of the local government were protesting outside the district council hall. They demanded that Grade-2 nontechnical staff of WSSP and other affiliated departments be given one-step promotions. They threatened to boycott all sanitation work across the city from June 1 if their demands were not met.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2016.


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