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- Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - From Print Edition




The transgender community came out to protest on Monday against a television channel for “grossly invading their privacy” in a recorded programme aired recently.


At the Karachi Press Club, about 200 transgender people staged a demonstration organised by the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA) – a group advocating for the rights of the vulnerable community.


The demonstrators appealed to the Supreme Court chief justice and Sindh chief minister to take action against the channel, which, they said, had projected the transgender people in a “bad light and made their lives miserable.”


“The channel has violated the fundamental human rights guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan to every citizen,” said Bindiya Rana, the GIA president, while speaking to the media at the protest. “The host of the show did not only violate our rights as human beings but did not even spare some human dignity.”


Broadcast on December 15 on a private TV channel in the show, a female reporter accompanied with policemen was shown barging into a house in Karachi, where a man and a transgender had been living as husband and wife allegedly. A clip of the “raid” soon became viral on the social media websites. The video shows the reporter verbally abusing the man and his “wife” for living together and also shouting at the transgender to prove if she was a woman. The faces of the victims were left uncensored throughout the show.


Rana said that raiding a house at night with policemen and threatening people to strip off to prove their gender was not only humiliating but an utter disregard for the law. The reporter accused the transgender community of spreading immorality and fatal diseases like HIV/AIDS.


Asif Habib, the GIA general secretary, said the media trial of any person was against the Article 10 of the constitution. “Article 14 also declares the dignity of people and privacy of people’s homes is inviolable. The TV show was in clear violation of journalistic ethics and Pemra’s code of conduct.”


The protesters claimed that after the negative propaganda disseminated in the show, police had started raiding the homes of transgender people. “They are harassing us and also physically abusing us,” said Mazhar Anjum, the GIA vice-president. “The police are arresting people from our community and releasing them after hefty ransom.”


The protesters demanded that stern action be taken against those behind the TV programme. The organisers also told the media that GIA was contemplating to sue the channel and the programme host, as the transgender community had been facing “unspeakable discrimination” at the hands of the police and the general public after the show.