The forgotten people: ‘Social pressures push our families to abandon us’

Transgender people ask to be seen as human beings


Ammar Sheikh December 07, 2016
With the issuance of CNICs, transgendered might be able to get jobs, open bank accounts and do all those things people with CNICs take for granted. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: Societal pressures push our families to abandon us and it eventually leads to joblessness, lack of health care and many other issues, said transgender activists on Wednesday.

They were speaking to students at a talk titled The Forgotten People: Transgender Community. It was organised by the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (FAST-NUCES) through FASTCARE, the varsity’s social welfare society. Naeem Baloch from FAST was the moderator of the session.

“Transgender people face discrimination not only from the society, but it actually begins at home with their families which do not accept them,” said transgender activist Saima Butt. She added that she had to leave her family because her relatives used to taunt her and her family.

“I believe the root of all problems faced by the transgender persons stems from the way people see, treat and taunt us and our families. That is the reason we have to leave our homes as our families, under societal pressure, abandon us.” Saima told the audience. She was talking about the victimisation she had to face at school, hospital, by police and even strangers.

Talking about her past, Saima said she was raped after being abandoned by her family. Then, she had to face the police. “After what happened to me, I wanted to make sure that no member of the transgender community is treated the same way I was.  Now that is the mission of my life.”

Another transgender activist, Pinky, said she was particularly taken aback during a visit to a doctor at one of the major hospitals in the city. “The doctors made a mockery of me, asking if I also get sick. I was shocked to see the mind-set of this supposedly highly educated section of society.”

Pinky said that getting an education was very difficult for the transgender community as they are rejected on all levels of society. She shared that she overcame all the problems and was able to graduate, despite the odds. However, getting a job was another big hurdle for a transgender person, she complained.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2016.

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