Shahana Abbas Shani, President Of Pakistan's She-Male Association, Presses For Transgender Rights, Representation
Though transgender citizens in Pakistan celebrated recent victories when the country's Supreme Court ordered the federal government to register them as voters and issue them identity cards noting their "third gender," it seems that many are not satisfied with the progress that is being made regarding trans rights.
Shahana Abbas Shani, President of the country's She-male Association, has announced she will contest recent elections as an independent candidate for the Muzaffargarh PP-254 constituency of the provincial assembly reports The Express Tribune.
“Now that the Supreme Court has allowed us to have an identity card; we will fight for our rights. There is no other way to effectively address the concerns of the third gender without our having representation in Parliament,” she told the paper, adding, “I hope to stand and serve as a representative of all under represented communities in our society."
SDGLN.com notes that the recent floods in Pakistan were especially devastating for transgender citizens as they "were left out of the aid efforts and denied access to IDP camps because of general prejudice, their non-conforming appearance, and their lack of proper identification documents."
Bindiya Rana, of Gender Interactive Alliance, told SDGLN.com that so far no third-gender ID cards have been distributed. As a result "a lot of transgenders get separated from their parents from a very young age and are unable to get their parents' ID cards and other supporting documents which are required to get an ID."
The Express Tribune reports that in November several transgender groups protested in Multan against the NATO attack and the killing of army personnel of Pakistan. The protests included a burning of an effigy of President Obama.
“We are just as involved in the politics of this country as anyone else. This is our land too and we have a right to stand for its concerns,” Shani says. "We will fight at our country’s borders if the forces need us.”