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Pakistan’s transgender persons struggle with pandemic and poverty

Nationwide lockdown and ban on entertainment gatherings make life difficult for marginalized community

Pakistan’s transgender persons struggle with pandemic and poverty

Workers of wedding halls and hostels protest to demand the government to allow them to resume their activity in Karachi on July 13, 2020 after businesses had to close during the lockdown to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Asif Hassan /AFP)

Adnan Noor used to perform for newlyweds and politicians on weekends before coronavirus pandemic shuttered the wedding halls.

The 32-year-old known by her stage name, Noor, used to earn up to 6,000 rupees (US$36) from each of these functions besides her day job at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University in Nawabshah city, southern Sindh province.

In 2018, one of her politician friends helped her get a job in the university's administration department after parliament voted to pass the wide-ranging Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act.
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The law guarantees citizens the right to self-identify as male, female, or a blend of both genders, and to have that identity registered on all official documents, including National Identification Cards, passports, driver's licenses, and education certificates.

"The vice-chancellor promised to increase my salary and make me a permanent staff member in a few months. Although I worked hard, they never took me seriously. Other colleagues were granted raise while I was moved to another department last year," Noor told UCA News.

Click here for the full story.

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