Female Transgender Movement in Pakistan

Making History: VISION lays the Foundation in 1998 for Pakistan’s Female Transgender Movement

Pakistan’s transgender individuals, also known as zenanas or moorats and legally designated ‘khwaja sira’ by the Supreme Court, face extreme discrimination and social marginalization, with little to no remedial assistance from the state. Khwaja sira are born with male physical attributes, but identify as female, believing they are female souls trapped in a male body. These individuals express their trans-identity by donning women’s clothing, wearing makeup and jewelry and publicly self-identifying as women. Derided and socially ostracized for being different and behaving inconsistently with established social norms, many khwaja sira find it difficult to secure jobs and housing. As a result, they may be forced to earn an income providing inexpensive entertainment for parties and events, sex work, and even begging.

VISION has actively campaigned for the rights of Pakistan’s transgender individuals since 1998, when it commenced a landmark HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention project with Lahore’s marginalized, abused and exploited khwaja sira community. This project, the first of its kind in the city, laid the foundation for an historic and revolutionary movement within the transgender community to self-organize and campaign for their rights. In the first year alone, the initial group of khwaja sira were able to successfully network with, and mobilize, other groups within their larger community for social change. Since then, VISION has continued to work closely with these communities.

1998: Sun Fort hotel Lahore
Female transgender support group session
1998: Nayab Health clinic Lahore
HIV/ AIDS awareness workshop

2001: Sun Fort hotel Lahore
HIV/ AIDS prevention workshop
2002: Nayab Health clinic Lahore
One-on-One counselling
2004: Murree
Annual retreat camp
2004: Murree
Annual retreat camp

From Margins to Mainstream: Taabeer Hum( We are the realization of the dreams ) 2015-16

2016: Tabeer Hum Murree
Participants of Life skill training
2016: Tabeer Hum Murree
Group work during Life skill training
2016: Tabeer Hum Murree
Leadership training of female transgender from Mardan
2016: Tabeer Hum Murree
Staff members of vision from mardan multan & islamabad
2016: Tabeer Hum Murree
Group work during Capacity Building Workshop

Some Important Demographics from The Mapping of Female Transgender in Mardan, Multan and Rawalpindi Districts of Pakistan, 2016

Fig 1: This figure explains the ratio of Gurus in proportion to Chelas (Disciple) in the sampled population 
Fig 2: This figure describes the income range among the sample Female Transgender populations
Fig 3: This figure indicates the educational level of the sample populations
Fig 4: This figure reflects the knowledge about Sexually Transmitted Infections in the sample Female Transgender population

Empowering trans-women in Pakistan

In February 2018, VISION began a new project called “Empowering trans-women in Pakistan” under the aegis of the Global Giving Foundation.

 VISION participated in the “Global Giving fund Raising Accelerator Program” and successfully exceeded the given target in one month’s time.

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Moving Forward Every Step Counts