Transsexuals protest after attack
Gunmen's assault prompts outcry
ucanews.com reporter, Lahore
November 30, 2012
Dozens of hijra (transsexuals) blocked roads for an hour yesterday after armed men in the southern suburbs of Lahore attacked a community on Wednesday, forcibly cutting the hair of two transsexuals.
“We were cooking dinner when two local thugs entered our compound and dragged us outside. The crowd watched silently on both sides of the road while they took us into a barber shop and started snipping," said Jamil, 20, who works in an office.
Frequently abandoned by their families, the hijras of Pakistan usually live in communities where they typically survive by dancing, as sex workers or though panhandling.
During the protest, organized by the Khwaja Sira Society (KSS), Jamil and Tarqi sat down on the road as their teacher took out a handful of hair from a plastic bag and showed it to photographers.
“They were armed and drunk," Jamil said. Other community members fled during the sometimes violent attack, she said. "What’s worse is police refused to register a first information report and asked us to leave the village”.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan recently issued a decision that transgendered people should be given equal basic rights as all citizens, including equal inheritance and job opportunity rights. Last year, the apex court directed the National Database and Registration Authority to issue computerized national identity cards to eunuchs (many hijra undergo voluntary castration).
Blocking the traffic in front of the Lahore Press Club, the hijra beat their chests, chanted slogans against the police and demanded security from officials.
“We are humans and citizens of this country. They cannot ban us," said Neeli Rana, a KSS field supervisor. The community has received threats since the incident she said.
“There is still no place for them in our Islamic society,” said Saeeda Deep, founder of the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies. “It will be a long time before they are taken seriously. Media and NGOs needs to continuously highlight their plight," she said.
Chemical castration is cruel and unusual punishment, they say
Give incoming president a chance to prove himself, Father Joel Tabora says
Lack of plan could lead to major catastrophes and loss of life
Bangladesh court orders changes to laws allowing abuses against detainees
Buddhist hard-liners want Myanmar government to strictly abide by controversial citizenship legislation