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Educational Alienation of Transgender



In our society, there are a lot of marginalized groups that are deprived of their basic rights, such as the right to education, right to dignity, equality, and in the even worst cases, right to life. The transgender community in Pakistan is one of them.

It is not news for us that transgenders are first abandoned by their family and later by society. And as outcasts, they live the rest of their lives in isolation. This isolation forces them to live on the margins of society while earning some money through normative professions attached to them, like singing, dancing, and begging. In this context, where transgenders are constantly degraded by society for their sexuality, getting access to education is like an impossible dream for them to come true.

According to the UN survey, more than 42% of the transgender community never went to school. And in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, only 7% of the transgenders have made it to college. This draws my attention to the social, as well as educational deprivation of the transgender community in Pakistan.

The dropout ratio of transgenders from schools is also evident through the facts and figures that only 7% of the transgenders have made it to college. Of course, there are various reasons for this extremely high ratio of dropouts. From getting repeated security threats to getting humiliated and sexually and verbally assaulted in the streets, these are all the main reasons that the dropout ratio of transgenders is high, and the literacy rate is low.

It is true that Pakistan has opened its first-ever state-run school for the transgender community in Multan. I do acknowledge the efforts of Pakistan’s government in taking the first step in breaking the stereotypes. But only one school would not be enough to make education easily accessible to every transgender in Pakistan. Pakistan needs to do more!

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Discrimination in society is ingrained and whether we like it or not a lot of us are judgemental of people who do not meet the "normal criteria". It is very difficult to make people understand that transgenders did not want to be born in such a state and to live in such poor conditions ,but instead we continue to blame them for their appearance and alienate them from society

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Thank you for writing on this! I'm also interested to hear people's thoughts on having separate schools for the transgender population and whether that calls for further inequalities and discourages a population that already stigmatizes them (the transgenders) from allowing them to become a part of their society. I was reading a paper that conducted research on perceptions of education by the transgender community of Pakistan and while almost all of them believed that education was as essential a right for them as for anyone else, more than 70 percent of the subjects stated that they did not believe provision of education would help them progress in a society where social attitudes toward them actively prevented their participation in 'regular'…

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I agree with you. Just providing education to them would not help them as much, until this society starts to accept them as a part of the society and not as "others". Also, giving them equal opportunities in every sector of life is crucial.

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If you look into the KhwajaSira Program of Akhuwat Foundation, you will find how there is a lot of potential in NGOs to facilitate inclusivity of different groups in society and mitigate their alienation.

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I agree. NGOs in Pakistan are really doing a marvelous job in this matter. As someone else mentioned in the comments that his friends run an NGO named Ujrat which gives training to Transgenders, like digital skills etc.

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The thing people don't realize is, similar to ethnicity, transgender people are born with their condition. It is not, and it never was, in their control to be like this. After all, who would want to be the odd one out in a society who thinks you had a hand in fate? It is commendable that the government is opening an institution that caters to educating transgender people. While I agree only one institution is not sufficient, I am glad at least this step is taken in acknowledgement of this community, so that they can feel included.

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I agree with you. Transgenders suffer endlessly due to their sexuality; on which they had no control. They are punished by the society for just being born "that" way. it is really sad.

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It is mentioned in the UN's charter that education is a basic right for everyone. However, the case seems opposite here. I also think that society needs to be schooled that they should mind their own business, because mostly transgenders leave school because they are bullied. Let's pray that things get well soon. BTW, some of my friends run an NGO named as Ujrat which aims to equip transgenders with digital skills and enable them to earn online. We need alot of people like the founders of Ujrat.

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It feels really great whenever I come to know that there are such devoted NGOs that are working for the betterment of the society. And I pray and hope that more NGOs like Ujrat are seen working in Pakistan for the marginalized groups.

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