Pakistan transgenders pin hopes on new rights

Aleem Maqbool at the BBC:

ScreenHunter_04 Apr. 27 09.47 In the back streets, in a squalid neighbourhood of Pakistan's largest city, is a tiny, shabby apartment.

It is where we find “Shehzadi” getting ready for work.

Wearing a bright yellow dress, and scrabbling around her make-up box, she is doing her best to cover up her decidedly masculine features.

Shehzadi is transgendered: physically male, but psychologically female.

“When I was about six or seven, I realised I wasn't either a boy or a girl,” Shehzadi says.

“I was miserable because I didn't understand why I was different. It was only when I met another 'she-male' that I felt peace in my heart and my mind.”

Like so many other of the estimated 50,000 transgenders in Pakistan, Shehzadi left home as a teenager, to live with others from the same community.

“I'm happy being with other transgenders, but there are many problems,” Shehzadi says. “People don't understand, and they abuse us. It's hard to get somewhere to live, or even to move about normally. I get teased when I stand and wait for a bus.”

Separate identity

Shehzadi also shows us her ID card. She is unhappy that it says “male.”

But this is something that should soon change.

More here.