ISLAMABAD: While fatal attacks on people who are transgender may have reduced last year, the year was no less violent for members of the transgender community who continue to face threats on a daily basis. To protect them, one group has decided to help the community by launching an app to report threats.
The ‘Trans-Muhafix’ mobile application has been developed by Blue Veins, an organisation working for the rights of the transgender and intersex community in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Supported by the Canadian Fund For local initiatives (CFLI), the application was launched at the Peshawar Press Club on Friday.
There were at least 208 cases of violence recorded against the few people who identify themselves as transgender in K-P last year. At least five members of the community were also murdered in the province in 2017.
Apart from violence, the transgender community experiences rejection, stigmatization, harassment and physical violence — including from the police — because they do not conform to prevailing gender norms.
Through the app, Blue Veins hopes that members of the community can at least find someone to report incidents to by setting up a network of trusted contacts who can respond in an emergency.
“The app is first of its kind in Pakistan, unique and simple to use in case of emergency, which can be easily downloaded and installed from Google playstore,” said Blue Veins Programme Coordinator Qamar Naseem.
“The app is made to improve reporting system of violence against the transgender community,” he said while explaining that Trans-Muhafiz has options for both online and offline reporting.
“An online violence reporting system will create a more empowering reporting experience for transgender survivors, provide authorities with better evidence and data on violence, and facilitate the identification of repeat perpetrators,” he said.
Naseem explained that users can include a list of emergency contacts — who would be alerted in the case of an emergency. In the online reporting system, users can not only send text messages and location to contacts but can also send voice, picture and video messages.
“Blue Veins will host and maintain the app during and beyond project timeline, it will help the transgender community to report violence,” Naseem said, adding that data collected from the app and other sources will be shared with stakeholders every month.
K-P TransAction Alliance General Secretary Arzu Khan said that she continues to receive a large number of cases of violence from different districts of K-P via phone calls, WhatsApp groups, Facebook and word of mouth.
“We are able to document a few of the cases,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2018.