Monday May 16, 2022

Transgender community suffers in silence, lives under extreme fear

October 24, 2019

Islamabad :Despite strong legal framework for the protection of transgender community (TG), people belonging to Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM) suffer in silence and lives under extreme fear.

The facts about the situation of SGM are shared in a research report ‘Bullying and Harassment of Sexual and Gender Minorities in Pakistan’ conducted by Raheem Baloch, a development professional and researcher.

This report is the first effort to highlight the harassment faced by SGM community members in Pakistan. The study is based on 101 extensive interviews of SGM community members conducted in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Mansehra.

The study was formally presented at a sensitization training session hosted by Dareecha Health Society to discuss fair treatment and devising friendly policies for gender minorities. The session was aimed at promoting empowerment and fulfillment of TG community rights given to them by “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018.”

Out of the total number of SGM community members interviewed for the study, 96 per cent of SGM community members shared that they experienced social bullying, 92 per cent talked about facing verbal bullying, 90 per cent lived with sexual bullying and 87 per cent had to go through physical sexual bullying. Around 68 per cent of the interviewees said that they faced bullying and harassment at formal and informal educational institutions because of their sexual inclinations, 60 per cent talked about facing cyber bullying, 49 per cent were bullied at work place and 38 per cent admitted engaging in substance abuse.

The interviews clearly manifest that violence against community has increased and has taken extreme forms. The perpetrators have no fear of law or society and it is considered normal to make fun of SGM community. It also reflects that the gap between society and community is also increasing. Due to social media, the community members are more visible and vulnerable to perpetrators. The interviewees also revealed that majority of the cases of bullying are not reported.

Transgender (TG) community, members from civil society and media participated in the sensitisation training session where they discussed issues regarding the implementation of Act.

Pakistan's parliament passed a landmark bill on May, 2018 that gives the country's transgender citizens fundamental rights.