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The Nation

Published Date: Feb 4, 2014

Eunuchs too dream of better life

Calling for respect and dignity to the much ignored segment of the
society, participants of a seminar on Monday asked the government to
recognise the transgender and eunuchs as a ‘third’ gender of Pakistan
and ensure equal rights of education and work opportunities like any
other citizen of the country.
A seminar on ‘Acceptance &
Opportunities for Transgender in Pakistan’ was held at the premises of
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. People
from different walks of life participated in the seminar.
Almas
Bobby, President of Transgender Foundation Pakistan, while speaking on
the occasion, said that the country’s transgender does not want separate
schools, hospitals or vocational also said that social acceptance
should be done at community level. However, if required, than every
housing society should take courage to have transgender’s separate
schools, institutes or hospitals.
She appreciated the suo moto
action of Supreme Court of Pakistan for having transgender’s own
identity cards. It is a great responsibility on our community to prove
ourselves with respect and dignity.
"Inflation and corruption has
forced many amongst us to choose the wrong path but we are loving the
people," Bobby said, adding, "We need love and respect. People need to
change their attitude towards us and the government should be focused to
provide us with equal rights to education and work opportunities like
any other citizen of the country."
Muhammad Majid Bashir, Senior
Advocate briefed about the laws for transgender in Pakistan. In 2011
Supreme Court of Pakistan, primarily custodian of the fundamental rights
of human being, has taken up a step for transgender community to allow a
third gender category on national identity cards, a legal share of
family inheritance, a reserved 2 per cent quota of jobs in all sectors
and the right to vote in elections.  However, these rights were already
present in constitution, Supreme Court simply identified those rights
for transgender.
"Social acceptability is required for the strengthening of these rights, which are extremely lacking," he lamented.
Riffee
Khan, Representative from Gender Interactive Alliance, Pakistan, said
that the Sindh government has employed three transgender persons as
full-time employees and "luckily I am one of them." Furthermore, she
explained the endless support of her family, which was helpful for her
to achieve double Masters in Pakistan. "Unfortunately, the transgender
in Pakistan has to face brutal discrimination in jobs, not to mention
the limited access to education and state protection. They are easy
victims of violence and have no option but to indulge in immoral
activities for survival," she said. However, according to Article 25 of
the Constitution of Pakistan all Pakistanis have equal rights without
any classifications, said Khan.
Jannat Ali, Project Manager, Khawaja
Sira Society, Lahore, focused on the needs to be catered by government
& civil societies for transgender’s civilized living. "With such
initiatives they are opening up space for themselves as productive
citizens in a society, showing their strengths and proving themselves
functional rather than relying on help by government or any NGO", she
added.
Furthermore, she also introduced about Chand Literacy
Society, which is providing free education to transgender and also
offering them work opportunities.