Home Global Village Why Pakistan’s first-ever Transgender School won’t be enough

Why Pakistan’s first-ever Transgender School won’t be enough

An excellent initiative by “Exploring Future Foundation” to educate the socially disgraced and economically deprived Transgender community of Pakistan, however, will this effort alone be enough to make a difference in Pakistan’s society?

Transgender School
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News Analysis |

Pakistan’s first school for the socially marginalized and financially-strapped transgender community was launched in Lahore, with a purpose to change the perception regarding the community and inculcate education.

The school is being launched by an NGO called Exploring Future Foundation (EFF), and it is sure to send positive vibes across the country, regarding the transgender community. Moizzah Tariq, the managing director of the NGO, is hopeful of inculcating skills in the transgender community with customized curriculum focused at the fashion industry including cosmetics, fashion designing, embroidery and stitching.

The total strength of the school stands at 30, as claimed by Asif Shahzad, the owner, who opined that the plan of launching a dedicated school was to offer a diploma course, in a bid to facilitate the transgender community, to set up their own businesses. The launching ceremony of ‘The Gender Guardian’ school attracted renowned singers and Pakistan’s first-ever transgender news caster Maavia Malik.

Political parties can play a decisive role to cater the needs of the community and the most appropriate move, in current times, would be to award a ticket to any transgender people for the upcoming elections so that the community should have a representation in the parliament.

Attempts by the transgender community to achieve their rights have been, unfortunately, in vain to attractattention on the international landscape. The conditions in Pakistan are alarming. According to the latest census, there are as many as 10,418 transgender people across Pakistan, with a sizeable majority, 64.4 percent in Punjab, followed by 24 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, however, despite such considerable representation; the community is not provided proper healthcare and education facilities.

There was no school for the community, prior to the recently launched school and they were not even counted as a separate gender in census; the Supreme Court had directed the government to include a separate column in the census form in March, last year. In August, last year, the first third-gender passport was issued; however, there’s more to the bundles of woes that the community is facing, than merely placing them on the documents.

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Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the former Chief Justice of Pakistan had instructed the government to include the category of ‘third gender’ in the national identity card form, while they were awarded the right to register as a third gender on their CNICs in 2012. Hence it was only in 2012 that the Government of Pakistan finally made an effort to issue them national identity cards as a “third sex.”

Having mentioned all the ceremonial privileges extended to the transgender community, there remain few key problems which are still needed to be addressed, the central of which is the health issue. A survey conducted by Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance (IBBS) revealed in November, last year that 36000 transgender persons in major cities of Pakistan were reported to have HIV positive.

The total strength of the school stands at 30, as claimed by Asif Shahzad, the owner, who opined that the plan of launching a dedicated school was to offer a diploma course, in a bid to facilitate the transgender community, to set up their own businesses.

Detailing the shocking statistics, Dr. Baseer Achakzai, Manager National Aids Control Programme, said that the actual number of cases would definitely be higher than the registered numbers as the survey was conducted in 23 big cities only, ignoring the suburbs and villages.

Dr Baseer Achakzai explained further that transgender persons are affected by HIV 49 times more than the other population. The primary reason behind such staggering figure is that the transgender people are employed in prostitution dens; however, this is not the sole reason for the HIV. Besides health issues, the transgender people also feel insecure about their lives and many of them have faced fatal assaults in past.

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50 Transgender Killed

Recently, in March 2018, a transgender person named Daniyal aka Chutki was gunned down in Peshawar and data compiled by Trans Action implies that more than 50 transgender persons were killed during 2015 and 2016. The financial woes faced by the transgender in Pakistan are enormous as the community is not hired for manly jobs.

Pakistan’s finest art institute, National College of Arts, Rawalpindi had taken an initiative to mainstream transgender people by allowing Bubbli Malik to run café named ‘Joban Food Court’ on September 8, 2015, inside the premises, however, the café was shut down in February, this year, reportedly due to sub-standard cuisines.

Pakistan’s First Ever Transgender news’ Caster

One of the recent developments in the Pakistani media is being noticed on the international foray which relates to the country’s first ever transgender news caster Maavia Maalik, roped in by the Kohenoor TV, however, symbolic changes won’t be helping the socially marginalized community and radical changes are needed to maneuver the mindset of people who consider the third gender, a toy to satiate their sexual desires.

Read more: Census 2017: Over 10,000 transgender population in Pakistan

On the same model as ‘The Guardian School’, many more institutes should be opened; television shows should be launched, vocational training institutes should dedicate their class rooms to the transgender community and most importantly, the legislature should be focused around the issue.

Political parties can play a decisive role to cater the needs of the community and the most appropriate move, in current times, would be to award a ticket to any transgender people for the upcoming elections so that the community should have a representation in the parliament.


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