KARACHI: Sindh being the most income-generating province, not only attracts the common people, but also encourages a large number of transvestites to rush in from different parts of the country.
“The population of Punjab is higher, so the transvestites’ population must also be higher there, but I really felt sorry when I heard that there are only 1,000 transvestites in Punjab, as majority of them have shifted to Karachi. It is my wish that not a single transvestite is left without registration,” said Bindia Rana, President of the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), a non-government organisation for the betterment of transvestites in Sindh.
After apex court’s directives, the Sindh Social Welfare Department started registering transvestites, but it failed to get a response, and therefore, sought help from GIA in getting the transvestite population registered. “We got a copy of the registration form and after making photocopies, started door-to-door campaign for registering them. So far we have collected around 610 forms that we will soon submit to the department,” she said.
The social welfare department is not paying GIA any money for these forms and Rana and her team are doing all the work by themselves.
“The transvestites are not living in a single place, but are scattered across almost every part of the city. Therefore, we have to make several phone calls to collect addresses and then go there to carefully fill out the form. Sometimes, these visits are futile, as we do not get hold of the required person. Nevertheless, we spend a lot of money out of our own pockets, with only this hope that after the registration, we will be able to get basic facilities from the government,” she added.
The official registration form requires details, such as name, father’s name, source of income, parents’ home address, living alone or with a Guru, original and nickname, and resemblance, which means whether she has feminine or masculine features. The transvestites use ‘khotki’ for those wearing men’s wear and ‘firka’ for those wearing women’s wear.
Rejecting the mystery surrounding the funeral rites of transvestites, she said, “As we live scattered, we do not have many people to help with the burial. Therefore, we request people in our neighbourhood to perform the funeral rites and we do not take part at all. Hence, people assume that there is some mystery attached, but there is no truth to such assumptions.”
GIA Secretary General Saniya Baloch said Sindhi transvestites belong to almost every race and language, including Sindhi, Punjabi, Siraiki, Pushto, Balochi, Urdu and Hindko, and most of them are also educated.
“Some transvestites are postgraduates, engineers and doctors, but due to the social norms, they are forced to live like men. We demand the government to issue special national identity cards, mentioning us as transvestites,” she said and added that it was very difficult for a transvestite to rent a house in the city, “but once we get a house on rent, nobody has a problem. In fact, people are happy as we help everyone out.” amar guriro
Source: Daily Times