PESHAWAR: Nothing screams ‘mainstream’ like taking a train journey. A group of people who are Transgenders recently took such a ride from Peshawar to Attock Khurd.
The transgender-only ride had been arranged by the Tourism Corporation of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) on Tuesday with the aim of providing them with an opportunity to visit and learn about the region’s heritage sites.
During the two-hour-long journey, the participants were told about the history and culture of the region.
“They [people who are transgender] are part our society,” TCKP Senior General Manager Hayat Ali Shah explained when asked about the idea behind the tour.
“Like others, they too have the rights over resources [of the province] and the TCKP will always support them,” he said, adding that before this train, the TCKP had also arranged similar excursions for members of the religious minorities and women.
“This is the first time in the province that such a transgender-only tour was arranged,” Farzana, who was part of the tour, told The Express Tribune.
“Our lives are usually limited to our homes since we do not dare come out lest we are harassed in the streets and markets.”
She added that the society has plummeted to the point that people who are transgender cannot even travel normally with other people. In this regard, the exclusive train excursion by the government was encouraging and hoped similar activities continue in the future too.
Taimur Kamal, a social activist, who works for the Welfare of Transgender Persons, told The Express Tribune that transgenders are living in very difficult circumstances in the province.
“They are depressed, they are harassed by the people due to which they are confined to their houses in congested cities,” Kamal said.
Talking about the issue faced by people who are Transgender, he said that while the K-P government used to allocate a percentage of the annual budget for them, in 2016 the allocation was allowed to lapse. The story has repeated in 2017 where not even a single penny from the allocations made for them in the budget has been spent so far.
However, Kamal said that the train ride was appreciable.