Schools for trans persons

Punjab government has been successful at setting up three transgender schools in Multan, Bahawalpur, and DG Khan

December 11, 2022

Every new school being established specifically for transgender persons is indeed a giant leap for the community. The Punjab government has been successful at setting up three transgender schools in Multan, Bahawalpur, and DG Khan, and now the Punjab School Education Department has inaugurated the first transgender school in Lahore, the provincial capital. The initiative will give transgender children and youngsters, who are often discarded by families and shunned from society, a fighting chance at life.

The school, named ‘Gender Guardian School’, recorded 25 enrolments on its opening day and is being hailed by human rights activists as an important initiative to mainstream and empower the community. The conservative Pakistani society offers many challenges to transgender persons who have no choice but to resort to precarious means to make a living. The state has only recently pushed to acknowledge them despite great resistance from religious groups. Building schools will encourage this even more by not just helping educate transgender children but also providing adult transgender with teaching and learning opportunities. Let it be reminded that this is merely the first step in trying to achieve the ultimate goal of having transgender children enrolled in schools and colleges across Pakistan. As of now, it is saddening to say the society is not ready, since ridiculing and bullying are rather common in educational institutions, and therefore a separate school will not just provide necessary attention but also a safe space to those eager to learn.

From a psychological perspective, these initiatives give the community hope that one day they will be able to lead normal lives and be respected. Simultaneously, however, all stakeholders must work towards creating an inclusive society where all human beings, despite their gender, race, religion, or ethnicity are treated in a dignified manner. We hope to one day see a Pakistan where transgenders can be enrolled in regular schools.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2022.

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