Need for an orphanage
Asif Khan Turk
Like the other problems of transgender people, the issue of the unavailability of an orphanage for transgender-children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is of paramount importance. Verily one is shocked to know that most of the parents do not accept their transgender-children in utter disregard of their instinctive urge and the deep rooted parental love and attachment. The cause responsible for this deplorable phenomenon would be discussed with later on.
Well, an immature child, when turned out from parents’ home, his family and nearly all the relatives show no sympathy towards a child who is she-male and he/she has to suffer for it. In these circumstances transgender-children are forced to join the transvestites’ community, which, in such a critical situation is the only resort for a she-male child banished from the home of parental origin and openly hated by all the relations. The community provides such wretched and ill-fated she-male children the basic necessities of life. They, in turn, adopt the profession of dancing and entertainment etc.
Being quite raw-hands, they are formally given training in the field of singing and dancing etc. and people who have no sympathy for them otherwise highly appreciate their songs and dancing on certain happy occasions of marriages and other such events.
As already stated afore, unfortunately, there is a stigma on the fascinating entity of KP province that almost all the parents do not accept it when they come to know that their child is a she-male. This attitude of parents is not only deplorable but infinitely condemnable and squarely inhumane and against the spirit of human nature.
Actually, the lack of education and awareness is also a factor responsible for this state of affairs. Educated and civilized parents do not let others know that their child a she-male. They keep such fact a top-secret and do his/her (the she-male child) proper upbringing to make the child a useful citizen of the society. On the other hand, if a she-male child is disowned by all of his/her dear-ones, then he/she has no option but to join the transgender community which is the only door open to him/her for earning livelihood.
It is a fact that due to the fear of joblessness, transvestites adopt the profession of dancing etc. while most of them don’t like it and want to leave it but they are unable to do so due to social compulsions. However, if opportunities be provided to them they can carry out almost all types of jobs. They can run their own shops, enterprises, boutiques, cafes and everything that other genders can run. However, it is very much alarming situation that there is no educational institute or technical/vocational training center in the province to educate and train them with modern skills.
Before we move further, it is to be noted that like other vulnerable communities, transvestites are also under serious threats in KP. They live a miserable and sub-standard life and are considered useful only for performance at dance and music parties. Most of the people enjoy their miseries and exploit their basic rights. This community does not have any kind of respect in the society and its members are being considered as social outcast. The inhuman attitude of public shows that they are very insecure among us and need special attention and care to save them from the effects of different types of social evils.
According to media reports, 50 plus transgender have been killed and more than 300 have faced violence and gender discrimination during the last five years in the province. The transvestites are facing multiple threats including harassment and kidnapping and face inhuman attitude at almost all public places.
Besides, prostitution is also common amongst the transgender community. The high rate of prostitution exposes the community to the hazards of HIV etc. The rest of the population living with the disease remains hidden because of the prevailing stigma attached to it. It is a fact that some of the transvestites join the profession of dance and prostitution by choice but majority of them join it for earning livelihood only.
According to a report, the number of registered transvestites in the province is 1600 plus, while a large number of the members of this community are reluctant to get themselves registered due to fear of being exposed. In this regard, the provincial government has miserably failed in eradicating the menace of the transvestites’ abuse, in making an effective strategy to uplift their living standards and in safeguarding their rights.
Actually transgender are very kind-hearted and innocent people but the society’s behaviour pushes them towards social isolation where they are reluctant even to share their personal pain and experiences with others, except their own community members.
Therefore, it is the prime responsibility of the KP government to protect their due rights. It should review its policies to uplift their lifestyle. Discrimination should be eliminated at every level and they should be considered as equal citizens in the society. The government must provide them all the necessities of life which they deserve. The transgender persons should also be given the right to take loans from the banks and start different types of businesses to earn their livelihood in a respectable manner.
The government must set up an orphanage or a special home for transgender-children disowned by their parents. It will provide a safe place for them. Civil society members, human rights activists, political workers, youth and scholars should join their hands together to provide a respectable space to transvestites by protecting their due rights.
It is need of the hour that transgender should be allowed by the public to live a respectable life in the society. Special incentives should be granted to them. They should be provided the opportunities of earning a respectable livelihood. Those, who are interested in the profession of dance, should not be disturbed.
Similarly, they should be recognised constitutionally and interaction should be strengthened with them to make an environment of love, peace and integrity. Being a catalyst, media should also play its due role to change the prevailing mindset of the public regarding this community.
The writer is the Editor of Sunrise Today and President of the Science Journalism Society of Pakistan. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.