3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Sustainable Development Policy Institute, 38 Embassy Road, G-6/3
Pakistan is home to a population of over a million and a half transgenders (also called khwaja-sira and hirjra in the local language). Historically speaking, khawaja-siras were respected as caretakers of royal harems, masters of art and culture, and trusted as messengers, watchmen and guardians. Contemporary transgenders now live on the margins of the society as entertainers, beggars and sex workers. Hijras are vulnerable in Pakistan because of widespread un-acceptance by the society. In most cases, these people remain extermemly vulnerable and secluded from the society and are often repulsed by their own family members. They are consequently faced to join their contermporiries in closely-knit communities of hijras as disciples (chela) under gurus (as experienced elders in their community are usually called) (Claire Pamment, 2010).
Continued discrimination and repulsion for the transgender community has left them in poverty and other chronic social evils. They continue to be deprived of basic human rights in Pakistan, including respectable access to services like education, health and job opportunities. Discrimination against them is not structural to a society but largely rooted in how they are perceived as equal members of the society. In most cases, they are widely ridiculed and grossly mocked at even if they try to make efforts towards a decent living for themselves.
In this context, the SDPI has organized a special seminar on the said subject, inviting a successful member from the transgender community to share perspectives on the continued difficulties faced by transgenders in Pakistan. The seminar will focus on societal bottlenecks preventing their acceptance in social life in Pakistan. The seminar will also be important in raising awareness with regards to human rights and access to basic services for transgenders as equal citizens in the country.
The event can also be watched live at http://www.sdpi.tv/live.php
Chair: Ms Sadia Sharif, Policy Advocacy and Outreach Unit, SDPI
· Ms Almas Boby, President, Transgender Foundation, Pakistan
· Ms Rifee khan, Representative from, Gender Interactive Alliance, Pakistan
· Mr Aslam Khaki, Advocate
· Ms Gulnaz Nisar Bhutta, Communication and Advocacy Officer, Care International
· Ms Seemi Farman, Research Associate, SDPI
· Ms Mome Saleem, Research Coordinator, SDPI