PESHAWAR: Transgenders in Pakistan are a marginalised community. Their families ostracise them while society taunts and discriminates against them. They face harassment and disrespect in the streets and a lack of basic rights, yet their hearts beat for the country as much as any other Pakistani national’s does.
To express their love for Pakistan, Khyber-Pakhunkhwa’s transgender community celebrated Independence Day with fervent zeal on Sunday at the Peshawar Press Club.
The TransAction Alliance, a forum that works for the rights of transgenders, arranged the ceremony where transgender individuals from across K-P gathered to cut a cake for Pakistan’s 70th birthday.
Wearing the national colours, green and white, and sporting hats with the flag’s star and crescent, the revelers sang the national anthem and pledged to work for the prosperity of the country.
The celebrators cut a cake for Pakistan’s 70th birthday. PHOTO: IZHAR ULLAH/EXPRESS
Paro, a transgender person, told The Express Tribune that “Azaadi was a divine blessing”.
“We are lucky to live in such a beautiful country where everyone is free to live as they wish,” she said.
Paro, however, did point out that the transgender population has been ignored by governments since the country’s inception.
“All the laws have been restricted to male and female while the third gender has been ignored,” she lamented.
“On such an occasion, we don’t want to lodge our complaints to the media and just want to celebrate independence with our colleagues,” she added.
When asked whether the community has felt emancipation in K-P, she said that attitudes are changing there owing to awareness projects conducted in the province.
Taimoor Kamal, a member of the alliance and chief organiser of the event said transgender participation in events such as this gives them hope that they are also equal members of society.
The revelers wore the national colours, green and white. PHOTO: IZHAR ULLAH/EXPRESS
Kamal added that previously events like these had been organised for the community, however, now they are taking the initiative themselves and speaking up for their rights.
Ayesha, another transgender, said that transgenders are the only group that organise events to celebrate independence despite the discrimination they encounter.
She called on the government to establish a vocational centre for transgenders, so they can attain economic independence.