Academic and trans rights activist Dr Mehrub Moiz Awan was recently removed from a panel at the TEDxISL (International School of Lahore) because of objections by parents over her being a trans woman.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Dr Mehrub highlighted her experience, describing it as transphobia. “Finally censored for being trans and barred from speaking at TEDx ISL where I was slated to speak this 20th of August 2022 at ISL in Lahore,” she said in a tweet.
She said that during a meeting held to review her drafted speech, which the admin said was in accordance with the TEDx rules, she was told that she was being removed from the speaker’s panel because some parents have objected to a transgender person speaking to their children.
Questioning if this was even legal, she asked if this could be called censorship. She said she hoped that the other speakers would walk out in solidarity with her, because Pakistani transwomen have always stood up for their causes. Dr Mehrub disclosed that her talk was supposed to be about the colonial legacy of transphobia in Pakistan.
Following this, Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement chairperson Ammar Ali Jan and educationist Ghazi Taimoor also announced that they were boycotting the event too in solidarity with Dr Mehrub.
While most people on social media have spoken up in support for Dr Mehrub, fashion designer Maria B announced on Instagram that she supports the school ISL, and called Dr Mehrub out for being ‘a fake transgender person’ and claimed that she was ‘genderless and not trans’.