Lahore, Pakistan – The transgender community in Pakistan has gained ground with the Supreme Court recognising a third gender on national identity cards, however, it remains widely discriminated against in the conservative society.
Transgender people are often found living at the margins of society with low social status and few employment opportunities. They generally earn a living through begging, or engaging in the sex trade, or as dancers at weddings and other celebrations where men and women are strictly segregated.
To fight discrimination and violence, transgender activists are working at the Khawaja Sira Society (KSS), a drop-in centre under the umbrella of local Pakistani NGO Naz Male Health Alliance.
The centre provides services for the local transgender community, including HIV/AIDS treatment as well as contraception awarness and distribution via its outreach programme and through its clinic.
Because of Pakistan’s conservative religious culture, political volatility and security issues, the activists operate mostly under the radar.