KARACHI: There is a need to end social prejudice against transvestites, and treat them as equal citizens, says human rights activist Akhtar Baloch.
In a presentation entitled 'Problems of Third Gender - The Sociology of Transvestites in Sindh' in a HRCP meeting, Baloch said that Pakistan's law is silent when it comes to defining transvestites as a third sex.
Baloch said that transvestites are continuously made an object of discrimination in Pakistan. He added that citizens should not label and deride transvestites as sex workers or homosexuals. He emphasized that they should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
Baloch said that his research was an attempt to show the reality of the social and cultural life of transvestites. The research itself focuses on deciphering the evolved language which transvestites use to communicate with one another and in their social networking. Baloch said that it was the first time that any comprehensive research work was conducted in Pakistan which draws attention to their life styles, customs, celebrations, dance, music, their interaction with one another, marriages, and language. He hoped that his research would stimulate other researchers to investigate and study further about the transvestite community and their problems.
The recently released book also highlights cases of cruel treatment towards transvestites by the police and other law enforcing agencies via interviews of transvestites residing in Sindh province as well as information gathered from the police, community elders, neighbors of transvestites and lawyers.
According to Baloch, destitute people of this group were being deprived of their property rights and are being alienated from jobs and resources of the Pakistani society.
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