National Multi-Level Stakeholder Consultation (Trans Action Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)

National Multi-Level Stakeholder Consultation (Trans Action Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)

English

Problem

Despite the Pakistani Supreme Court’s 2009 granting of third-gender certification on national IDs and the ability to vote, Khwaja Siras (individuals who self-identify as third-gendered) and their community continue to face an excruciating level of discrimination, gendered violence and arbitrary state violence.

Some note that the term Khwaja Sira comes from the special position of hijras under Mughal rule as court eunuchs who were able to serve women of the royal family due to their hijra status. The term is more of a professional label with prestige, then a gender. Perceptual violence against the community is seen in the form of stereotyping hijras as beggars, prostitutes, criminals and deviants. According to the national census, which included a third-gender category in 2009, there are approximately 300,000 hijra, third-sex, individuals in Pakistan. Such individuals are often kicked out of homes, beaten, raped and forced into precarious sex work, structural positions and interpersonal situations. Others also face difficulty in finding employment due to harassment, abuse and discrimination.

Recently, there has been a rise in transgender murders, rape and disappearances in Lahore, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other regions that has pushed the community and activists to mobilize and protest. The Transgender community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) faces a particularly difficult challenge as many have been displaced by natural disasters and pushed to different cities in the province due to the increasing presence of the Taliban. Such individuals are also denied protection by local refugee camps sponsored by international organizations.

History/Overview

Trans Action is the first initiative in KPK by and for the transgendered individuals and their safety, livelihood and citizenship rights. The initiative seeks to represent the claims of transgender individuals from 25 districts of KPK and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The project works to mobilize the transgender community through campaigns, education and protest movements in hopes of improving gender identity and gender reassignment equality and their rights and inclusion in KPK. The project also seeks to reclaim spaces for transgender individuals and challenge discriminatory perceptions of such individuals as punishable by tribal, religious and cultural values. The project seeks to create public spaces for transgender activism, dialogue and consultation. Such protest and activist work places many transgender participants in risk with almost 46 members of the community killed, 1500 others raped and beaten, and 4 threatened by gun violence. Due to their heightened exposure to gendered, sexual violence, a large number of individuals in the community are HIV positive and continue to face threats, blackmail and violence from local gangs. The project’s core 8 members work closely with other transgender communities and activists across 18 districts in the province in hopes of articulating their voice through on platform in the claims-making process.

Organizing Entity

Blue Veins is a women’s rights organization founded in March 1999 and based in KPK dedicated to affirming the dignity of all people. The vision of the organization is a world where every individual despite their sexual orientation or gender identity enjoys the right to and access to healthcare, education and security. The organization's campaigns and initiatives are committed to ensuring women and transgender individuals in KPK have “have full access to the information, resources, training, and employment opportunities they need in order to overcome social, legal and economic barriers, to participate in decision making, and to claim their human rights.” They are the only organization in the region working in coalition and in support of kwhaja sira, hijra communities.

The organization and its projects are funded by UNHCR, UNICEG, UNDP, British High Commission, German Embassy, Global Fund for Women, Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, Norwegian Human Rights Fund, Mama Cash and USAID. The organization also works closely with local community organizations such as the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network, Tribal NGOS Consortium, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Working Women Federation and Pakistan Gender Coalition, Student Federation, as well as Khwaja Sira Association based in Lahore.

The event was organized in collaboration with the Forum for Dignity Initiatives (FDI Pakistan).

Participant Selection

Methods 

Conference style presentations, roundtable discussions and interactive social media boards on issues faced by the transgender community.

Style of Deliberations and Decision Making

The event took place on August 18th 2016 in Islamabad. Community leaders conduced district-level forums and surveys to create an agenda and map the issues faced by transgender individuals in KPK. There is little information available on the structure, details and content of this process on the Internet. Qamar Naseem, the leader of the initiative, facilitated the face-to-face discussions noting the importance kwhaja siras to speak for themselves:

“I can’t advocate for their rights if they themselves are not interested, because when we did speak out, we’re accused of working on Western agendas,” he says. “We informed their representatives that we were ready support them, both technically and morally, but they had to lead.”

The only information available online are on the official Facebook page for the Trans Action KPK initiative in the form of interviews with BBC Urdu, transgender community members, activists and leaders, the founders of the initiative and other civil society members such as women’s rights NGOs, elected MNAs and international organizations. The interviews from the event show these individuals underlining the main goals behind trans-advocacy, calls for electoral and structural reform to enhance citizenship rights of the khwaja sira community, as well as increased policing and healthcare efforts to protect individuals. The event mostly consisted of individuals documenting their stories and questions as transgendered individuals to be included within the 2016 national consensus and distributed on social media channels.

The information included in this case is still in its primary stages and needs more background details on the actual event, the aims and intentions of the participants and the outcomes.

Outcomes

From the little information available on this event it can be at least be confirmed that, in addition to community-building and raising awareness, the recent protest and forum-style conferences hosted by Trans Action Alliance have resulted in government officials promising implementation of Supreme Court rights for transgender individuals. The province of KPK has set aside funds in its annual budget for conducting a census of the transgender community, as noted by provincial finance minister Muzafar Said for 2016-2017. The provincial government has also promised to allocate Rs 200 million (approx 19,000.00 USD) for the census and a separate housing scheme for transgender individuals, as well as a special ward system in hospitals to ensure access to healthcare. The local government continues to promise to introduce stronger policy platforms for trans-rights and protection, but has fallen short in backing the supreme courts laws with actual political responses or programs.

Analysis and Criticism

The work of Trans Action Alliance maintains a degree of separation from its not-profit roots, as it is primarily a grassroots effort realized by all members of the transgender community, despite class, disability, race or religion. Though funded by a not-for-profit, most of its initiatives are designed and implemented by locals and are also critical of donor engagement with beneficiaries as seen in the “No to Gender Blindness” protest against the UN's efforts and refugee camps refusal to help displaced transgender persons in their disaster relief initiatives.

The information included in this case is still in its primary stages and needs more background details on the actual event, the aims and intentions of the participants and the outcomes.

 

Secondary Sources and External Links

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/authorities-in-nw-pakistan-to-conduct-census-of-transgender-people/story-Z5XRK5YAp0Y7QMdn8yFH2K.html

https://www.facebook.com/TransActionKP/

http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/338600-KPK-to-introduce-comprehensive-policy-for-welfare-

http://thediplomat.com/2016/06/a-transgender-tragedy-in-pakistan/

http://surface.syr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1056&context=etd

http://www.apcom.org/2015/12/23/spotlight-khawaja-sira-society-pakistan/

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1814950642061645&set=pcb.1814951195394923&type=3&theater

http://www.refinery29.uk/2016/08/120385/pakistan-transgender-women-rape-violence-interview

https://genderinteractivealliance.wordpress.com/awareness-program/

http://www.mangobaaz.com/transgenders-are-people-too/

http://holypakistan.com

http://blueveins.org

Case Data

Location

Geolocation: 
Islamabad , P
Pakistan
Punjab PK

History

Start Date: 
Thursday, August 18, 2016
End Date: 
[no data entered]
Ongoing: 
Yes
Number of Meeting Days: 
1.00

Organizers

Who paid for the project or initiative?: 
UNHCR, UNICEG, UNDP, British High Commission, German Embassy, Global Fund for Women, Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, Norwegian Human Rights Fund, Mama Cash, USAID
Who was primarily responsible for organizing the initiative?: 
[no data entered]
Other: Organizing Entity: 
Blue Veins
Forum for Dignity Initiatives Pakistan
Who else supported the initiative? : 
Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network, Tribal NGOS Consortium, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Working Women Federation, Pakistan Gender Coalition, Student Federation, Khwaja Sira Association
Types of Supporting Entities: 

Resources

Total Budget: 
[no data entered]
Average Annual Budget: 
[no data entered]
Number of Full-Time Staff: 
[no data entered]
Number of Part-Time Staff: 
[no data entered]
Staff Type: 
[no data entered]
Number of Volunteers: 
[no data entered]

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