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Transgender Challenges: A Call For Equality

by Tanees Naeem
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tanees naeem

There are people who stand with us in our moments of happiness, and during times of difficulty, we often encounter them on the streets and at intersections. They wear colorful clothes and makeup to attract attention. Transgender people are individuals whose gender identity differs from the gender they were assigned at birth. “Trans” is often used as a shorthand for transgender. When we are born, doctors typically assign a male or female label based on our physical appearance. Most individuals labeled as male at birth ultimately identify as men, and those labeled female at birth usually grow up to be women. However, some individuals’ gender identity doesn’t align with their birth assignment. Most of these people refer to themselves as transgender. A transgender woman lives as a woman today but was assigned male at birth. A transgender man lives as a man today but was assigned female at birth. Some transgender people identify as neither strictly male nor female, or as a combination of both. People realize they are transgender at various ages. Some recognize their transgender identity at an early age, while others may take more time. Recognizing one’s identity and deciding to embark on gender transition can involve considerable reflection for many transgender people. Some transgender individuals may not conform to traditional gender roles, expressing their gender identity through behaviors, speech, clothing, hairstyles, and other means. Adopting a new name that better reflects their gender identity is also common. While not all transgender individuals choose medical interventions, some opt for treatments such as hormone therapy, surgery, and other procedures to align their bodies with their gender identity. Transgender individuals face the risk of social harassment when they reveal their true selves to others. Parents, friends, classmates, and neighbors might not accept them, leading many transgender people to fear rejection from their loved ones and society. In Pakistan, the transgender community encounters numerous challenges. Transgender identity remains taboo, causing people to distance themselves without understanding their struggles. They encounter difficulties in accessing education, employment, and basic human rights. Moreover, they face violence and social exploitation. Due to lack of support from family members, they are more susceptible to developing psychological problems and experiencing suicidality. Trans rights are human rights; our paper’s purpose is to bring international attention to the dire state of mental health within Pakistan’s transgender community. Gender dysphoria, distress caused by the incongruence between one’s gender identity and assigned sex at birth, significantly impacts some transgender individuals. Gender dysphoria is the medical diagnosis for this emotional distress. However, not all transgender people experience gender dysphoria. Being transgender itself is not considered a medical condition. Nonetheless, due to widespread discrimination and stigma, many transgender individuals deal with physical and mental health issues. Living in a society that tells them their deeply held identity is wrong or deviant, some transgender people lose their families, jobs, homes, and support. Some even experience harassment and violence. Transgender children might face rejection, emotional abuse, or physical abuse at home, in school, or within their communities. While these experiences are challenging for anyone, for some individuals, they can lead to anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health conditions. Importantly, these conditions do not stem from having a transgender identity but rather result from the intolerance many transgender individuals encounter. Many transgender people, especially those who are accepted and valued in their communities, lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Transgender individuals deserve the same dignity and respect as anyone else, and they should be able to live and be respected according to their gender identity. However, transgender people often confront serious discrimination and mistreatment at work, school, and within their families and communities. For instance, transgender people are more likely to be fired or denied jobs, experience harassment and bullying at school, become homeless or live in extreme poverty, and face abuse and violence. Living without the fear of discrimination and violence and being supported and affirmed in their true selves are crucial for enabling transgender people to lead healthy, safe, and fulfilling lives. In recent years, changes in laws, policies, and attitudes around the country have allowed more transgender people than ever to live fuller, safer, and healthier lives. Our aim is to raise global awareness about these issues, prompting relevant authorities to take action. Special attention should be given to the protection and education of transgender individuals. If they are dealing with psychiatric disorders, healthcare professionals should be available to help them. It is their right to live peacefully and independently in their country. We must accord them as much respect as we do to other humans. They are human beings, just like us, and we must provide them with job opportunities and educational facilities to alleviate poverty.

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