Transgender reflects a group of people who enjoys the least amount of respect or rights in Pakistan. Due to the controversial nature and typical mindset of people, the subject of Transgender rights in Pakistan is not even discussed in sophisticated circles. Most people do not even consider them as a part of their community; massive rejections are often faced by transgender in almost all the parts of Pakistan.
The term ‘Transgender’ is often used interchangeably with terms such as transsexual, gay or lesbian, male-woman, eunuchs, shemales and cross dresser. However, based on research, it can be safely suggested that there are some fine differences that may help in delineating these individuals:
Eunuch: The term which is typically used for a male who is castrated. The castration is a medical technique in which the testes of the male or ovaries of the female are made non-functional; this can be achieved surgically or through some other non-conventional technique. Historical records reveal that this category of eunuchs was first identified in Sumerians.
Hijra: The term or community of people is most commonly found in South Asian countries (like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh) and refer to males who intentionally adopts a female character such as dressing up like females (in terms of clothing and wearing makeup, jewelry etc.) The concept of Hijras dates back to Indian Sub-continent when the Mughal’s promoted cross-dressing practices as a form of art or amusement for the elite class. In Pakistan, hijra’s usually live in a community setup under a ‘guru’ who acts as their leader or head of the family.
Transsexualism: The condition is more commonly identified in the western world in which the person feels serious discomfort in his/her own gender and develops a desire to be the member of opposite sex. In other words, individuals usually develop a strong dissatisfaction towards their biological gender and some even take a step further and go under the knife to get what their heart desires. One very hip example is famous Caitlyn Jenner (former Brice Jenner). In our society, however, this condition or phenomenon is treated like a mental illness and is critical and controversial to be discussed due to religious aspects and cultural values.
Transgender-ism: Sometimes this condition is misunderstood by people as a form of intentional perversion. In reality transgender-ism is very frequently a result of hormonal changes and mental status issues; however the person is generally completely normal physically with an XY chromosome (or XX chromosome in case of females). In transgender-ism, the fetus undergoes some abnormal brain integration changes during pregnancy that may also affect the hormonal balance. As a result, the child is born with a neurological sex (also termed as brain sex); thereby culminating in transgender-ism. Gender dysphoria is common in such individuals because their innate gender identity is opposite to that of their appearance or the way they are grown up by their families. Although physically they are normal and have their specific genitals (as indicated or specified by their genetic combination); but experience gender dysphoria due to neurological sexual issues.