Friday, 14 August 2015

Pakistan’s transgender community rolls out 700-foot national flag for Independence Day 2015 by Zeresh John, DAWN News Pakistan

Pakistan’s transgender community came out to celebrate the county’s 69th Independence Day with a 700-foot long flag that they meticulously stitched together over 12 days.

Organised by the Sindh chapter of the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), hundreds of Khawaja Sarras rolled out the gigantic flag at the Bagh-e-Quaid-e-Azam, previously known as the Polo Ground, in Karachi right before the clock struck 12 on August 13.

President of the Sindh chapter of the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), Bindiya Rana.

Ecstatic and proud of their accomplishment, they walked across the length of the park holding up the flag, shouting “Pakistan Zinadabad!

As a result, they continue to face discrimination from society. They largely depend on a livelihood of singing and dancing at weddings and birth celebrations. They are also treated as sex objects and often become the victims of violent assault.

Transgenders in Pakistan were awarded the right to register as a third gender on their CNICs in 2012. The Supreme Court had also ordered free education and free health care for the Khawaja Sarra community. However, provincial welfare departments have yet to implement the decision.  

However, yesterday night, the open space at Bagh-e-Quaid-e-Azam rang with profound patriotism, thanks to this same community.

One day, hopefully, they will stop being stigmatised and start to gain social recognition in their own country.

According to the vice president of GIA, Mazhar Anjum the making of the flag cost 100,000 rupees.

“We wish to walk abreast all Pakistanis,” GIA’s vice president Mazhar Anjum said. “All we ask for is some respect,” Rani said.

The flag measures 700 feet in length and 50 feet in breadth.

“We put in a lot of hard over this flag; it is to show our love for Pakistan. We value this country with all our hearts and would not hesitate to die for it,” Sapna said.

 “I’m glad to see that so many people turned up to stand with us here for Pakistan. This is Pakistani unity!” Sheila said.

The Khawaja Sarra community stitched the flag over the course of 12 days.

“I’m here today because I want to spend this independence day with the country’s most tolerant community,” Sadaqat Ali said.


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