Trans comedian Anaya Sheikh from Lahore claimed that she was heckled and verbally abused by fellow comedian and Youtuber Sharik Shah during her performance at a comedy night event in the café at Johar Town on Sunday.
Sheikh asserted that Shah subjected her to abusive remarks, objectionable middle finger sign and even tried to physically harass her when he approached her on stage. She said that Sharik Shah deliberately tried to come close to her onstage that made her uncomfortable.
a. Pakistan has transgender comedians and they're often a hoot. b. Local media reports that some guys who punch down on minorities on their YouTube channel thought it would be funny to harass an actual comedian. https://t.co/14IjHFXNh7
— Diaa Hadid ضياء حديد (@diaahadid) November 20, 2019
Shahrik mocked, humiliated Anaya by calling ‘Khusra’.
Even though the organiser has apologised, "There were many people who laughed at [Shahrik's] comments, which made her think that people still find em as a joke. There should've been a pin-drop silence." https://t.co/XKgYcClniA
— Shama Junejo (@ShamaJunejo) November 19, 2019
Anaya added that Sharik Shah encouraged transphobic and abusive remarks while standing beside her on stage, to intimidate her and spoil her performance. He even passed slur on her physical appearance and gender.
“I wore a top which said ‘We Should All Be Feminists.’ I started with jokes about women empowerment and then I replied to those jokes, which were based on trans people.”
Solidarity with #LGBTQ in their struggle of recognition in #homophobia filled #Pakistan https://t.co/c7XavWMlQY
— NickEdwin08 (@NEdwin08) November 20, 2019
“Then Sharik Shah, from Lahori Prankster, and another comedian named Usman made jokes and used the [derogatory terms] “Khusra” and a shemale while the whole audience was laughing and enjoying my performance” further added Anaya in an interview to a local media outlet.
Anaya said Sharik Shah forced himself on stage during her performance. She said that Sharik did not stop and get down despite her repeated calls to him to leave her alone on the stage.
The trans-comedian asserted that she was shivering by the time she completed her performance.
Read more: Rights of Transgenders in Pakistan
Anaya left the premises instantly after getting through with her performances. The organizers of the event LahoriFied apologized Anaya for abusive behavior by other comedians.
Expressing her feelings, Anaya asserted that she has lost her confidence and is feeling ashamed of being subjected to such crass behavior. She said that she felt humiliated that she became a laughing stock for the audience on Sharik’s remarks when there should have been silence or condemnation from the public on his behavior.
Anaya Sheikh remorse the fact that despite awareness and the transgender rights movement the mindset of ridiculing people like her prevails. She added that this mindset deters the people of the transgender community to earn a respectable livelihood.
“I have the video but I don’t dare to watch it, and the more I think that many people were recording [the incident], the more I feel depressed and angry. I know this will be out and I’m imagining how happy that will make transphobes” commented Anaya.
Read more: Pakistan’s transgender fashion designer launches her clothing line
While Sharik Shah, Osama Khan, and Asad Ramzan are three pranksters from Lahore who runs a YouTube channel named ‘Lahori Prankster’. The three pranksters who ridiculed Anaya Sheikh, are notorious for mocking and trolling people, particularly the physically challenged, disabled and people from marginalized communities in their prank videos.