ISLAMABAD: Transgender activists have called upon the government to provide education and employment opportunities for them so that they may lead respectable lives.
The demand came from the transgender residents and activists from the Bari Imam area, who had gathered on Tuesday evening at an event in connection with the Pakistan Independence Day celebrations. Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) and Islamabad Devcom Centennial Leo Club had organised the event in collaboration with the community organisation Forum for Dignity Initiatives (FDI).
Julie, a community representative, said they “feel humiliated when they go for begging for alms, but there is no other option” to make ends meet. She complained they also have to face harassment from the police when they go anywhere.
“No one takes us or our issues seriously,” said Shilpa, another community member while sharing the ordeal trans people go through on a daily basis. Munni Khan said the situation is the worst in small towns, where the police don’t arrest violent criminals but “just us, the weak people.” She said the police snatch the money transgender people collect from begging.
FDI president Nadeem Kashish said the government seems reluctant in resolving the problems being faced by the transgender people. “We have no right to any resources. Anyone can kidnap and rape us. It is sad that no FIR is registered, nor is any attempt made to arrest the accused persons.”
More than 70 per cent of the population is denied of equal opportunities, said Munir Ahmed, director, Devcom, adding that trans people are the worst victims of social exclusion. “They are hated, raped, sexually abused, and physically abused. We hardly see any formal education or skill development programmes for them.”
We need to have a national action plan to engage them in the socio-economic development, he suggested. “They should be given equal opportunities to enjoy life as human beings. Their right to life, livelihood, and shelter shall be ensured and protected.”
Islamabad Crescent Lions Club President Muhammad Hussain Turi said the club would support efforts for the mainstreaming of trans communities, adding that they are the most neglected segment of society.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2016.