Trans-people deserve to live and die like any other group of people. It is not a question that is dependent on the difference in their physical attributes for its answer. Rather, it is a question which needs to be understood and answered from the vantage point of similarities between them and others.
Too much has been said for the inclusion of trans-people into the social mainstream. A few lines more in favour of this cause, which is the only proper cause, will certainly help.
No matter what happens, Pakistan’s tradition is rooted in South Asian culture and history. It also has a strong influence from the tradition of Islam. This makes for a mix which has not been helpful, as of yet. Where on side cultural memory calls for an exclusion of the trans-people, religious tradition can be used for their proper inclusion. Islam is as liberal a religion as is necessitated by the needs of time, pragmatism and demands of social justice. Trans-people are humans. If they are segregated and relegated to an inferior status, it is a violation of a very fundamental stipulation of Islamic doctrine – that all humans are equal. It will do well to remember that superiority and inferiority depends on the nature of one’s actions whether they are virtuous or vicious, and not on the differences of anatomy.
The relegation of trans-people to an inferior social status, on the basis of a difference in anatomy is a violation of simple but universal religious stricture. The violation of that religious stricture then puts those who indulge in such a folly, to an inferior status. As soon as they do so, they leave the domain of a pure religious structure and enter into the treacherous realm of dogma. And that is where the seeds of social discord are sown.
It may come as a surprise to many, but not all people in our society believe in the equality of humans. “Human” is a universal word. It encompasses all forms of humans and certainly without any distinction of differences in anatomy. While doing so they forget that they are equalizing their worldview with that of the fascist overlords in the country next door. “All people are not equal,” was a definitive statement given by Subramanian Swamy of BJP in an interview with Isobel Yeung of VICE news. He holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard. Although his differentiation was based on religion, the differentiation that people in our society establish is based on a retarded culture and inverted interpretations of pure beliefs.
Trans-people deserve to live and die with dignity as equals in a modern society. In our own time the evolution of human thought has reached a point where relegation to an inferior status of a fellow human reeks of a rigidity resulting from millennial stasis. It is important that human imagination is stimulated again by establishing firm foundations, for a proper reversal of social currents. True foundations can be laid by giving out definitive statements, right at the beginning of a new process, or in the middle of a negative process to stem its further advance in that direction.
All humans are equal irrespective of differences in anatomy, colour, religion, language, and nation. Equality of opportunity is a right of every human — of trans-people all the more because of their historical exclusion and attendant social stigma. Education, employment, and social acceptance are their fundamental rights like they are of everybody else. Their rights are our duty. This duty does not necessarily stems from the further exposition of liberal thought. Its roots can be found in the proper understanding and revitalization of religious necessities.
This is not to say that nothing positive is happening at all. The only problem is that we are consistently failing in tracing the roots of fundamental human equality to the religious tradition of Islam. It serves to create a contradiction, where something that can actually be found in Islamic tradition is being looked for somewhere else. That somewhere else is the liberal-enlightenment tradition, which is not wrong per se. But in a highly religious-indoctrinated society liberal traditions are not readily accepted or adopted. Proper interpretations of Islam can actually be used to establish the equality of humans and in furtherance of the cause of social justice, liberal-enlightenment traditions obnoxious to right-leaning population become redundant, virtually. All along we stayed closest to the mosques but furthest from God.
What happened in Mansehra recently, and happens in other cities of the country often, is not because trans-people are fond of taking up trades for which they are targeted. They are left with no other choice. Social expectations have restricted the space for them. They cannot earn a proper living. Social exclusion on the other hand has left them vulnerable, so they band together to watch for others like them. This is no money-making profit-maximizing tactic. They do this out of the sheer need for survival in a society where predation is rampant. In this case rigid attributes of the society have excluded them. They fail to identify themselves as equals with their peers.
For all the talk of progress, democracy, liberalism, social evolution and modernity, there is much that is still bleak and out-dated. We cannot signify our social existence as long as we keep denying them their proper dignified social existence. Equality of all human beings is a fact. Our non-acceptance of it does not make it less so. The sooner we understand this and translate it into our social behaviours and attitudes, the sooner we will be able to compete globally.