'Use technology to fight for transgender rights'

Activist Kami Sid urges youth to be more accepting, understanding of transgender persons

Our Correspondent April 01, 2017
Activist Kami Sid believes that with more interaction between other communities and transgender persons acceptance can be created. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Young entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to understand the problems and struggle of the transgender community, as Nest i/o, a technology incubator, hosted transgender rights activist Kami Sid who shared her struggles with participants on Friday. Transgender activism through technology was also discussed at the event.

The session was arranged by Aurat Raaj Founder Saba Khalid. Aurat Raaj is an organisation that aims to provide and build a digital content platform to educate and empower Pakistani women.

Before Sid shared her experience, a video was shown about her life in which she pointed out the problems she has faced. She began her presentation by saying that she always believed she was a star but it was the social media that helped her become a star in front of society and therefore digital media or technology is an undeniable need in our lives that can be used to reach out to the public and express whatever one wants to.

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Before anyone else, our parents should accept us for what we are but unfortunately that was not the case with me, as at home I was scolded for being effeminate, said the activist while discussing problems faced by transgender persons. At school, my teachers used to make me sit with girls but I never liked it, she said. "If our parents do not understand us then how will society accept us as normal human beings?" questioned Sid.

She said in our society, there is a tolerance towards transgender persons but there is no acceptance. "With more and more interaction between other communities and transgender persons we could create acceptance towards each other in society," Sid urged.

Sid explained that her activism began in 2012. She is an active campaigner for the rights of her community and wants them to come forward and do what the rest of the society is doing - working at offices and becoming professors at universities and all sorts of professions instead of becoming prostitutes, beggars or dancers.

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The young hope

For this, we require acceptance from society, she urged, adding that they look to the younger generations for acceptance and understanding them as they believe most people above 40 years of age have already made up their minds about them but the younger generation can look at them with different and more tolerant eyes.

Responding to a question about how youngsters or tech entrepreneurs can support the transgender community, Sid said this can be done by simply interacting with any transgender person you encounter - be it outside your home or at a traffic signal. Giving away Rs10 is not enough, she said, adding that talking to them for a mere five minutes can help people understand what transgender persons go through.

"We are no less than anyone else, we just need a platform for people to see how skilled and talented we are," she concluded.


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