A new frontier in civil liberties

Sana Saleem in Dawn:

ScreenHunter_02 Jan. 07 09.30 Transgender rights represent a relatively new frontier in civil liberties activism. In Pakistan, eunuchs have historically been disregarded and marginalised by mainstream issue advocates. The discriminations against eunuchs reveal our petty-bourgeois mentality that is mostly reluctant to recognise gender deviance.

Over the years, the complete isolation of eunuchs from the very fabric of our society has denied them access to education, employment and health care – a direct violation of fundamental rights. Instead, they are forced to beg, dance, and enter prostitution as the only means of livelihood. Forms of discrimination impacting them include housing discrimination, discrimination in public accommodations, and violence, rape and forced prostitution. Discriminatory behaviour has also forced eunuchs to resort to living in isolated colonies, shunned by society.

To demystify the shrouded lives of eunuchs here, we must begin with an understanding of our society. Ours is a society with a blatant male privilege – the patriarchal orientation reigns supreme as an institution that organises much of life, exhibiting a natural preference for sons over daughters. While we battle against gender discrimination, transgendered children have little or no space in the social set-up.

More here.