Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sometimes We Forget…

That there are other trans*people who are a lot worse off than we have here in American. In Pakistan trans*people finally got the right to vote.
Transgenders: The New Voter Group In Town
Heba Islam
April 19, 2013

KARACHI: There’s a new voter group in town – Pakistan’s transgender community. With newly granted voting rights, members of the Khawaja Sarra community can now vote and contest elections not as males, but rather as recognised members of a third gender.

Enter President of the Sindh chapter of the Gender Interactive Alliance (Gia) Bindiya Rana, a transgender social worker and rights activist who decided to take the plunge and contest elections from provincial assembly seat PS-114. The constituency, also home to electables such as MQM’s Rauf Siddiqui and PML-N’s Irfanullah Marwat, includes several working-class localities of Karachi like Azam Basti, Baloch Colony and Akhtar Colony.
Not only can they vote now, but wait there’s more…
According to the Gia representatives, the Supreme Court order included directives for the Khawaja Sarra community to be provided free education, free health care and a community centre. As a community, since they now had CNICs, they also had access to welfare schemes like the Benazir Income Support Programme. But despite the rights they’ve won, they say the provincial welfare departments never implemented the decision which could have been a radical boost for them.
But the unfortunate reality is that of the approximate 500,000 TGs in Pakistan, official National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) documents state that there are a mere 687 people registered as transgender voters in the final electoral rolls. It isn’t clear why voter registration has turned out to be significantly low – Gia says many transgenders are still waiting on CNICs and are still registered as males.
Do you think the violence and the stigma of having to register as “third gender” might be the reason why the number of register voter is so low?

And now they are running for office, according to the Huffington Post
Stereotyped as dancers, beggars and prostitutes, Pakistan's vibrant but shunned transgender community is striking out into politics with individuals contesting elections for the first time.

They may only be seven out of 23,000 candidates with little chance of getting elected, but they have livened up an otherwise lacklustre campaign and set an important marker for their rights in the conservative Muslim country.

"People don't believe we can be corrupt because we don't have children and families," says independent candidate Sanam Faqeer in the southern city of Sukkur.
Now Faqeer has given up dancing to focus on campaigning for the May 11 polls, telling AFP that the world of politics is more serious.

"My aim is to give justice to the poor, welfare to the old, promote meritocracy and the lives of cleaners and remove unemployment. Once elected, I will make my city cleaner and end the traffic chaos," she said in her office.

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