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The Time of Trans is Now

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As 2018 wrapped up, Pakistan celebrated it’s first ever Transgender Pride march, organised by Track-T and Saathi Foundation. Jannat Ali, the Program Director at Saathi Foundation, led the march from the front, proudly upholding the board that aptly read, “Being transgender doesn’t make me any less human.” 

The transgender community made it clear that the intent of this march was to celebrate the milestones the community had achieved in 2018, while simultaneously negating the portrayal of transgenders as ‘victims’ on mainstream media.

The march itself was alive with colours and music, as everybody headed to Al-Hamra in high spirits. Many notable trans activists from all over Pakistan were present at the march along with celebrities such as Naghma Gogi and Kami Sid. Camel carts, carriages pulled by horses, DJs and Dhol walas lead the march as passersby stood watching from the sidelines at a safe distance, ensured by policemen who had encircled the procession.

While Pakistan has a history of extremism, it is still at the forefront of trans rights globally. Pakistan has recognised the third gender since 2009. Moreover, in March a legislation that allows intersex people, eunuchs and trans men and women the option to self-identify their gender on official forms was passed. On the contrary, the UK requires an individual to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria in order to self-identity. 

Much of this change has been brought about by grass-roots activists who have been fighting for trans rights. And while the necessary legislature has been passed and awareness is at peak, it is now up to the common man to remove the stigma that surrounds the LGBTQ community so they can fully claim their rightful place in society. 

Read: How Pakistan’s Transgender Community Found Its Voice – The Milestones

Although many were rejoicing the rights that the trans community has been granted, trans activist Nadra from KPK, while speaking to ProperGaanda, lamented that the trans community in the province is being murdered at large with the zero action being taken from the authorities. It was also upsetting to see that no representatives from the government body had come to the event to show their support. Major media companies were also missing on site, which is surprising considering the amount of coverage given to mainstream events such as fashion shows and boutique openings. 

The march concluded at Al-Hamra with a theatrical performance by Ajanta and Nautanki, a musical performance by Coke Studio’s Naghma Gogi and the Trans Icon Panel Talk. 

“Today my dream came true and it’s a moment of truth. I made the First Transgender Pride march happen with the support and love of my community from the platform of Track-T and Saathi Foundation.” – Jannat Ali

The message is clear, it is high time to stop discrimination and accept the trans community as a valid part of the community. The word ‘trans’ should not allow us to discredit them in any way or form. 

The time of trans is now.

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