The Legal Status of Transgenders in Pakistan

The Legal Status of Transgenders in Pakistan

As per the 6th Population and Housing Consensus released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) in August 2017, the country’s transgender population stands at 10,418 people – 0.005% of the total population of Pakistan. While this statistic was vehemently denied by activists, who claimed that according to an estimate there are more than one million transgender people in Pakistan, with 5,000 to 10,000 living in just the twin cities alone. Known more commonly as “Khusras”, “Khwaja Sira”, or “Hijra”; transgenders are either revered or feared in Pakistan. Suspicion reigns within Pakistani society and Transgenders are equally feared or revered, depending on which side of the Suspicion-Spectrum the person lies. They are feared because no one wants to be at the receiving end of their curse, should they be involuntarily offended. Due to the social ostracization, the Transgenders in Pakistan have formed their own community. They face various issues such as abandonment by close friends and family, lack of proper work, lack of medical and health facilities and lack of education, among other things. As a result of which they either beg for food, or work as sex workers to make ends meet. Transgenders are subject to violence and in most cases, they go unreported. Harassment (be it sexual or otherwise) is a large part of their daily lives, be it at the hands on common people, medico-legal officers or even security personnel. According to a 2017 report published by Aawaz, Trans-Action Alliance/Blue Veins 46 killings of transgenders and 300 violent attacks on transgenders have taken place across the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the space of one year, from January 2015 to...
READING LIST FOR FEMINISTS: MARCH 2018

READING LIST FOR FEMINISTS: MARCH 2018

In today’s world, where the fight for gender equality and equal opportunity has crossed borders and overflowed the barriers of culture and tradition, it is important to highlight the literary works of our feminist heroes. It is important for gender-based literature to make a foray into the mainstream and be recognized for the ground breaking pathways it has created for women and girls everywhere. Here are fifteen books by feminist authors that are a must read this International Women’s Day!   We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Half A Billion Rising by Anirudha Dutta Letters to My Daughter by Maya Angelou The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg Bad Feminist by Roxane Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee BossyPants by Tina Fey Fear of Flying by Erica Jong Predicaments of Empowerment by Rabia Ali Reform or Revolution by Roxa Luxemberg Reasons for Hope by Jane Goodall Unbowed: A Memoir, by Wanagari Maathai How To Be A Boss by Lilly Singh Min Fami: Arab Feminist Reflections on Identity, Space and Resistance Sexual Politics by Kate...
#metoo The Social Media Hashtag Providing A Platform For Victims

#metoo The Social Media Hashtag Providing A Platform For Victims

Actress Alyssa Milano sparked a huge debate and outpouring of on social media when she tweeted on Monday requested girls and women who have been victims of sexual harassment or assault to speak up with the hashtag #MeToo. These two simply words became a rallying cry on twitter to showcase support to the many victims of sexual assault and harassment around the world. Social media was flooded with victims of all ages speaking up about the various different instances of sexual harassment or assault each have faced over the years, sometimes multiple times. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n — Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017 The intensity of the problem was underscored by the avalanche of painful stories that came to the fore, with victims from all backgrounds channeling long-suppressed rage, pain and hurt, and sharing it with the world. In a short amount of time, women from all across the globe had joined hands, shared their painful experiences and provided strength and support to one another through the strong support circle that is continuously evolving and growing into a strong support movement to encompass more and more people from all genders and backgrounds. Even celebrities joined in on the cataclysmic social media campaign in response to Milano’s prompt, speaking up about their own personal experiences to raise awareness about how common sexual harassment and assault really is. Here are just some of the millions of tweets that surfaced in response to Milano’s prompting: when i was a little girl i was told “you’re lucky you’re so unattractive,...
SOC’s “A GIRL IN THE RIVER” WINS BEST DOCUMENTARY AT EMMY’S

SOC’s “A GIRL IN THE RIVER” WINS BEST DOCUMENTARY AT EMMY’S

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s “A Girl In The River” won best documentary award at the 38th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards held in New York City on Thursday. The story of a young girl who survives an attempt at honor killing beat out four other PBS documentaries, including Children of Syria, Welcome to Leith, Thank You for Playing, and The Look of Silence.  The two-time Oscar Winner tweeted the good news to her fans and the international community.     In her acceptance speech, Sharmeen talked about the exceptional courage of the young girl who was the subject of her award winning documentary, A Girl In The River. “A seventeen-year-old girl had the bravery to stand up and the commitment to fight a system. A law was passed in Pakistan (because of it) and you had newspapers and television channels reporting on honor killings in a different way. So it only the commitment of one single person to do that.” The documentary was previously also nominated in two other categories in this year’s Emmy Awards: Outstanding Short Documentary, and Outstanding Music and Sound. In 2016, it earned Sharmeen her Second Best Documentary Short Oscar, soon after she won Pakistan’s First Academy Award for Saving Face in 2012....
SAUDI ARABIA TO ALLOW WOMEN TO DRIVE: 2018

SAUDI ARABIA TO ALLOW WOMEN TO DRIVE: 2018

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would allow women to drive, ending a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of oppression frequently related to the kingdom. According to the Saudi Press Agency, government ministries are to prepare reports within 30 days, and the order will go into effect by June 2018. The royal decree was announced live on state television, while a similar media event was simultaneously taking place in Washington. Saudi Arabia is the only country is the world that forbids women from driving. Under the current system, only men are allowed to drive inside the kingdom. Numerous women who have campaigned against this law over the past few years have been either arrested or heavily fined. The Kingdom’s leadership hopes that the new law, once implemented, will help improve their image around the global, while simultaneously further encourage women to join the workforce. The current law forces Saudi women to hire drivers, or be driven around by their male relatives. The Kingdom’s US Ambassador, Prince Khaled bin Salman, referred to the decision as “an historic and big day” and said it was, “the right decision at the right time.” He further confirmed that women will not be required to take permission from their male guardians to take driving lessons, and would be able to drive anywhere they liked. While the Ambassador insisted that the decision would not be reversed or seriously opposed, some are not so sure. Given its strict guardianship laws that give men power over their female relatives, this is a huge step for Saudi Arabia. The guardianship laws prevent women...
THE WHITE DRESS: MORALITY BRIGADE

THE WHITE DRESS: MORALITY BRIGADE

Okay, so let’s talk! Mahira Khan was recently seen in some photos online casually taking a smoke break with Ranbir Kapoor. The photos are from when she was in New York City. It is important to note here that these pictures were originally taken in July, when Ranbir Kapoor was filming for Sanjay Dutt biopic; but shit hit the fan in Pakistan these past few days when they finally came to light. The pictures didn’t sit too well with Mahira’s large fan-base, much of whom still associates her actual personality with her on-screen character Khirad, from the serial Humsafar, which came out years ago. She was made the brunt of some very cruel trolling, with people actually asking if she was Muslim or not. Now, let’s get a few points straight: firstly, Muslims in Pakistan love to question other people’s religiosity. Why don’t you bother taking a look in the mirror and questioning your own actions first? What makes you think you are an angel that walks this planet? The girl was taking a smoke break, for god’s sake! You know how many women smoke in Pakistan? No, you probably don’t because you most likely live under a rock and think all girls are either the Pakistani Muslim version of sati-savitri, or are the Non-Muslim version of Silk Smita. It’s very important to make this distinction for our Pakistani populace, by the way – Muslim vs Non-Muslim. For some reason, Pakistanis just cannot understand that Muslims around the world vary by and large with regards to their social life, how they interact with people, their lifestyle  – and that most of...