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The transgender community and education: a forgotten issue

The transgender community in Pakistan has fought a long, exhaustive battle with the hate, prejudice and harmful stereotypes that surround their existence. With most people from the community being abandoned as children and being tortured mentally, emotionally and physically the question of their education has been neglected for far too long.


According to Supreme Court census of 2019, the transgender community in Pakistan is numbered at 300,000 with the actual numbers being much higher. Due to the legal and cultural biases that they face, most are forced to turn to dancing or sex work to make ends meet. Harassment and abuse are commonplace in these circumstances, and the lack of education further stands as a hindrance in the way for any progress. A research study showed, that 79% of the transgender community in Pakistan is uneducated and dropout rates are extremely high owing to sexual and verbal harassment as well as beatings by teachers.


Despite the bleak circumstances that we find ourselves in with regards to our minorities, there are efforts being made by organizations and individuals that provide some hope for a better future. The first school for the transgender community in Pakistan called: ‘The gender guardian’ opened in Lahore in 2018 to provide skill based education to members of the community with the goal of mainstreaming education for them. The school is more than just a place for them to learn skills, for many it is a sanctuary and a chance at a different life. For many others, the refreshments that the school provides are their only meals of the day. A video of the initiative is provided below:




The establishment of more schools of the sort across the country will play a huge role in uplifting the transgender community. However, the issues that they face are far deeper and systemic efforts are required to put an end to the social ostracism that they face. The cultural shame associated with being a member of the transgender community, is a major problem and acceptance albeit gradual will only come when the state as well as other organizations ensure security for them and provide more ways for uplifting and empowering them.




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5 Kommentare


Thank you for highlighting an often neglected form of violence that has become mainstream. Patriarchy and classism has led to the social exclusion of transgenders from our commonplace socializations. One such space is educational institutes. I cannot begin to imagine what it must feel like when one's existence and space are taboo. Hence, apart from targeting this problem of social exclusion in the long run, specialized units can be formed for transgenders to continue their education. This, of course, has limitations.

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Antwort an

yes agreed, these institutes are a good first response to compensate for years most of the people from the community have spent without education. Most of the focus remains on teaching them jobs like cooking, beautician etc that helps them earn fast. However, there still needs to be more of a focus on formal education that brings them on the same footing as other people.

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I agree with what you have written. 42 per cent of the transgender people in Pakistan are illiterate. 40 per cent of transgender people have had no access to education. Also, Joining the company of a guru typically leads to an end to formal education. It is therefore, important for Pakistani government should formalize and regulate the guru culture in transgender communities to ensure they continue to receive formal education.

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Antwort an

agree with what youve written but i dont think formalizing the guru culture will be very effective. The guru is able to provide a sense of family and support for them. Even if that remains as is, that should not be the only option available to people from the transgender community, there needs to be ease of access for them to normal schools ideally speaking. However, institutes like The gender guardian also hold great value

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Thank you so so much for sharing this. The video gave me goose-bumps and it was so incredibly inspiring. It's beautiful seeing them focus on this, because when I think about how most people discuss the issues that the transgender/hermaphrodite community faces, the focus is usually on employers not hiring them or discriminating against them. While this is a VERY real issue, most of us don't think about the problems on the grassroot level as well, i.e the lack of access to education and learning skills that may be relevant to an employer. This initiative is incredible, and recognizes that education is one of the best ways to empower a community. As we've seen through our course, education is what…

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