Transgender Community in Pakistan: From Marginalized “aliens/others” to Empowered “Citizens”?
Keywords:Transgender, State, Society, Political Struggle, Pakistan
Almost a decade ago in 2009, a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan set the trajectory for transgender community’s future. This was considered as the first step that ignited a new spirit among the transgender community in Pakistan; and they started actively pursuing the struggle for their fundamental rights. Transgender community in Pakistan has been marginalized since the inception of Pakistan. In Pakistan, transgender individuals have been pushed to the margins/peripheries of the society facing extreme levels of discrimination, rejection, stigmatization, violence and “otherness”. For years, both state and society have considered these individuals and their communities as “others”, “abnormal” or “threat to the structure of the society”. Faced with these conditions, the transgender community also passively withdrew from the mainstream and accepted this as their fate. This article is aimed to explore and analyze the transition in the status and condition of transgender community in the last decade (2009-2019). It is also aimed to highlight the role of transgender community and other actors in bringing about the change in their status. Reviewing the last decade of activism led by the transgender community and other actors; it is demonstrated in this article that the transgender community has gained momentous/historic achievements (especially legal) since then. From extreme marginalization and stigmatization: they have started to earn respected status in the society. While in the past they were considered as “outcastes” and “others” by the society and state alike, now, they are mostly considered as an integral part of the society especially by the state.