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Gender Binary

Pakistani media currently is in a phase of transmission to become more vocal and liberal about a lot of social issues. One of these issues is the taboo of speaking about the transgenders. Transgenders are accepted and given rights as a third sex by the Supreme Court of Pakistan but the society is still not ready to give them their basic human rights. In all of this progress the media also has a lot of responsibility in spreading the word. But unfortunately we do not see much content on this issue. In recent years there are just a few projects on this taboo topic when the media played its role. The film “Bol” was released in 2011. The film portrays a poor family having a lot of daughters in want of a son. But they got an intersex kid. The family was in shock and due to the society pressure they were ashamed of the transgender kid and tried to hide this reality. But ultimately the truth came out and the family could not bear the insult and the father killed his child. Another example we see in a show named, “Khuda mera bhi hai”. In that show a couple had a transgender kid, and due to the fear of society the family forced the mother to leave her child with the transgender community. But somehow the mother takes a stand for her child and keeps him with them. The whole show was based on the struggle that how our society is still not ready to accept such intersex people. These great projects are just a start and an encouragement to bring more content like this to our media.

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Although Pakistani media still has a really long way to go in terms of granting transgender individuals fair representation, a small step taken towards this could be the Coke Studio Season 11 song “Baalkada”. It features two transgender singers Lucky and Naghma. In my opinion, for a musical platform as big (and globally recognized) as Coke Studio to incorporate transgender individuals in their artist line-up has been a reassuring gesture towards representation for them in the entertainment industry. Moreover, Lucky and Naghma were later interviewed by social media portals to allow them to share their experiences of working on the project. However, I've noticed that this particular song doesn’t have as many views (around 3.3 million) as most of the…


Pakistan is one country where the treatment of transgender people is beyond acceptable. When a transgender child is born, they are abandoned and sent to “their community.” In their community they lives alongside other transgender people, however their lives are not easy. They are not able to get education not because of poverty, but because no one will take a transgender kid in their institutions. They also don’t have jobs, so end up begging on roads or needs to dance to feed themselves. During these “jobs” they are harassed and groped and also killed at times. The torture they have to go through after being disowned by their parents is beyond imagination. And we as a society have to thin…


I agree with your point on how these productions are a start and an encouragement for more such pieces to come. As time is progressing, the film industry is making efforts to destabilize the hegemonic gender norms and overthrow patriarchal binds, to really express the sentiments and struggles of a disadvantaged community in Pakistan. It’s also interesting how in a scenario where a transgender is born into a family, the fathers don’t seem to accept it, where as the female characters around them, learn to love. In Bol, the father wanted a son, but never got one, which is why he projected his “insecurity” on Saifi. It shows how deep the patriarchal roots are, and how men like to dominate…

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