ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the history of Pakistan, transgender persons will be part of a team of more than 150 boy scouts being sent to Saudi Arabia to serve as Khuddamul Hujjaj or volunteers during Hajj 2018, it is learnt.
“Efforts for sending transgender youth to Saudi Arabia to serve as Khuddamul Hujjaj are underway,” confirmed IPC Sindh Boys Scouts Commissioner Atif Amin Husain while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday.
Blue Veins, a transgender welfare organisation, is coordinating with the IPC in this initiative.
“At least two to three transgender persons will be selected from each of the remaining three provinces for joining the scouting community that leaves for Saudi Arabia every year,” he said.
He said recently 40 transgender youth from Sindh were administered oath on joining the Pakistan Boy Scouts Association (PBSA) – a national scouting organisation and one of the largest volunteer forces in the country.
The transgender persons would be part of a team of more than 150 boy scouts, he said, adding that last year over a hundred boy scouts had been sent.
Explaining the process, Husain said, “The recruitment process for Khuddamul Hujjaj includes physical training and a test. After that, the PBSA sends a list of successful candidates to the Federal Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for a final approval.”
This year the list would also contain names of transgender youth, he said.
Husain was of the view that by joining the PBSA, transgender youth would get social acceptance, attain confidence, feel secure and move forward.
Blue Veins Programme Coordinator Qamar Naseem said, “After the recruitment of 40 transgender persons in Sindh, we are planning recruitment processes in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.”
He said, “This can be a game changer and can significantly improve the social acceptance of transgender youth in our society.”
He termed the recruitment step a positive initiative that would help the transgender community in improving its image at local as well as regional level.