Peshawar: Transvestites usually considered symbols of hatred, detestation, oppressed and subjected to every sort of cruelty even from their blood relatives. They are worst vulnerable and marginalized segment of the society.
No one bothers to say a single word of sympathy for the neglected people and taken as if they have to endure the hardships, cruelties and injustices in their entire life. No word of prosperity and happiness is ever uttered by anyone for them and they always found telling painful tales.
The transvestite, are disgusted of the intolerable society, which even does not ashamed to get them danced to enhance the celebrations of their events, but, never ready to accept them as useful normal humans and even their siblings also hesitate in giving due honour and respect.
Transvestites have been confronting agonies, sufferings are compelled to wear musical instruments to earn livelihood. They then win over the amusers’ heart by dancing but themselves carrying moan and gloom in their heart. The distressed segment complains that the people shower money on them for their enjoyment but none of them comes forward to redress their ordeals, particularly financial hardships.
“There are almost three forms of the persons, one is Intersex, Transgender and Eunuch,” told Qamar Naseem, a representative of Blue Veins, an NGO working on transvestite. They have the same style of walking and talking. Teasing, taunting and hissing from society forced them to adopt dancing as profession,” elaborated Mr.Qamar.
There are about 50000 transvestites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and these persons are also found in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). During operation against terrorism seventeen hundred transvestites became temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) only from Orakzai Agency. 90 cases of rape, violence, extortion etc were reported in 2016, he lamented.
Transvestites belong to different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, consider the provincial metropolis Peshawar, a safer abode for them but even this city is also not a secure place to protect them from usual issues.
“We face starvation for days as the money, we earn paid in head of rent for the roof acquired for residing,” told sobbing transvestites.
Almost of the transvestites are illiterate and unacceptable in educational institutes even in Masajid (Mosques) and this is the reason behind their illiteracy.
“Class mates and other students called me as eunuch in school and even in Masjid due to which, I left both school and Masjid,” stated Gulalai, an impotent transvestite from Swabi. Being transgender by-birth, she was facing hissing after her in village and also used to receive blows from her brothers on daily basis. They felt her elegance a nuisance and shame.
I am still sighing for prosperity, as there is no money to pay rent for many months and also suffering from Hepatitis-C and finding no way to get treatment because not only of poor financial conditions but also for no availability of special bed in any government hospital, she wept. She told that she is not keen to dance but have no other alternate to feed herself.
Along with other agonies, health related issues are permanent headache for the transvestites. Neither male nor female wards are ready to admit them. This prohibition is not from the doctors but it is the mindset of the society of whom medics are also part.
It was observed, when a transgender was shot injured by unknown person some months back. When she was brought to the largest Lady Ready Hospital (LRH), neither female nor male patients allowed the she-male in their ward and resultantly she died. Similarly, an AIDS patient transgender also lost her life due to lack of access to medical facilities.
Dilbar, a transvestite from Charsadda converted into Dilruba narrated his tale that he is able to get marriage but his manners are completely womanish, which had become a nuisance for him in the village. “I have LTV license and skilled tailor as well but the society does not accept me to be a driver or run a tailoring shop, therefore, I joined dancing to feed myself,” he lamented and added that he curses the profession of dancing, if he is offered for a job.
To feed and protect ourselves from mischiefs, there are several transvestites, who have made friendship with some people, who, no doubt, misuse us but also they take enmity for our safety, one of she-male informed on condition of anonymity and told that she abandoned her friendship with her guard on head of 150000 rupees as I gave him.
Since, performing at events is the only source of income for them but there are various areas including district Buner and some outskirts of Peshawar where they are banned for programme. The locals of the areas are of the view that their events often turn into battles among the spectators.
When Tehsil Nazim of Buner Gulzar Babak was contacted, he clarified that there is even no single transvestite in the district and for programmes the people called them from Mardan and Swabi, which often convert into tussles along with rape and spanking. Therefore, he had requested the Assistant Commission (AC) Syed Nawab to ban their entry.
We are Muslims and offer prayers five times and always beseech Allah for provision of suitable jobs to give up the profession, which the society hates. All of them seek supplication in this regard, expressed Farzana, a provincial president of Trans Action Association (TAA).
Dr Mufti Shaukat from Darul-Uloom Haqaniya explained the religious point of view regarding the transvestites and said Islam does not allow anyone to mock and insult any human being and they (transvestites) are also creature of the Creator, be treated equally, he added that the profession, they adopt (Dancing) is un-Islamic act, therefore it is onus of the government to provide them suitable employment opportunities. Legislations should be introduced for their protection under the Islamic norms, he suggested.
Naeem, a Director of Social Welfare Department said that they needed to have proactive participation of transgender persons in all democratic activities and system, including participation in policies framed for their welfare. The state should take measures to ensure their respect and honour in the society, which they once enjoyed in our cultural and social life. Undoing centuries of discrimination that the transgender community has faced, will require targeted interventions by the state and we are committed to respond.
Farukh Saqlain, Director of Human Rights, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while sharing his views said that legal safeguards to prevent the violation of the transvestite community’ rights and institutional mechanisms to address their specific concerns are required to be put in place. Without protection of human rights, there can be no democracy or justification for democracy.
Spokesman of the provincial government Mushtaq Ghani has said in this regard that the KP government is clear for protection of the transvestite as it had allocated Rs200million for their welfare and planning to offer soft loans to the cross-dressers to enter into entrepreneurship.