The transgenders (Hijra or Khawaja Sira) of Pakitan are very exicted as election day in Pakistan is approaching.
The transgenders, previously dejected due to confusion over determination of their sexes, can now declare themselves as belonging to the third gender – neither male or female.
In Pakistan, there are an estimated 500 000 “eunuchs” or transgenders – a community of castrated men, hermaphrodites, transsexuals, transvestites and homosexuals, traditionally paid to help celebrate the birth of a son or to dance at weddings.
Stereotyped as dancers, beggars and prostitutes, Pakistan’s vibrant but shunned community of transgenders is striking out into politics. There were few transgender candidates in 2013 elections and at least 13 transgender candidates are participating in Elections 2018.
In 2009, the Supreme Court of Pakistan recognised the transgenders as a “third gender”, ordering they be issued with separate identity cards.
All Pakistan Transgender Election Network (APTEN) has announced a partial list of transgender candidates participating in Elections 2018. These include Farzana Riaz (NA-33), Arzu Khan (PK-33), Lubna (PP-26), Komal (PP-38), Madam Bhutto (PP-189), Nayab (NA-142), Nadeem Kasish (Candidate for National Assembly), Ashee (Candidate from Punjab) and others.
Nayab Ali and Lubna Lal — will contest from NA-142 Okara and PP-26 Jhelum, respectively, on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Gulalai (PTI-G) tickets, while the remaining 11 candidates will run as independents.
According to APTEN, at least two transgender people ─ one in Peshawar and another in Haripur ─ were unable to submit nomination papers because they were beaten up and harassed after their intentions to contest elections became public knowledge.