Alesha should not have died

Extortionists and haters alike harass the trans-gender community in Pakistan. Mafias try to exploit them for sex, porn or panhandling. Not only do they go through life with an identity crisis, they are continuously segregated by mainstream society and find themselves out of jobs and advancement opportunities. They are at the bottom of the pecking order of our horrid education system that is busy demonizing all sorts of other communities that don’t agree with the Sunni Muslim Male ethos.

This is why Alesha, a trans person ended up dead. It is likely her attackers where part of a gang in Peshawar. Halfway to the other side, she was brought to Lady Reading Hospital bleeding and broken. In a more humane society this would mean the beginning of the end of her ordeal, in Pakistan this meant the beginning of it.

The hospital administration, with a rallying mob of admitted patients, could not allow her in either the male or the female ward. They were uneasy, disturbed and even disgusted. There was much ado, Alesha was unattended for hours and was not admitted in the intensive unit.

The problem is that a hemorrhaging wound doesn’t wait for society to figure out what comes first: Their trans phobia or their humanity. Alesha died amidst attempts to treat her in some corner by putting up some makeshift curtains.

With her last breath, her fancy pants title of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Trans Action Alliance coordinator ended. She was so beautiful and had a lovely smile. Even as she lay dead. Our living even don’t look that good.

The problem is that as a people we only see beauty where it aligns with our notions. In this case the gender binary is so strong that to shake the male-equals-superior and female-equals-subservient is next to impossible. Trans phobia is rooted in sexism. It is unfathomable for misogynist peoples that a man at birth would want to embrace a female identity and biology. They assume this is deplorable and they also assume it is a choice.

Just like it is ok for girls to wear blue but a disgrace to see a boy in pink, it is a carnal sin to be more feminine at will. Progress can only mean being more male.

If the government thinks that allowing trans people to define themselves as trace is the final redemption to human rights they cannot be more wrong. Yes, identity is important but it is only useful if it has a cultural subtext to be allowed expression. Whereas one leads to the other, in this growing age of religious extremism and impunity to gender crimes, an ID card defined as trans, won’t be worth a penny.

Trans people need acceptance. This is unfortunately liked to an end to male superiority. With a government that looks like a gladiator match in ancient Rome, with only a trickle of a representation of women, what can one expect except more and more crimes like these?

KP seems to be in the center of these gender crimes. Just last month a girl called Ambreen was drugged in Abbatoabd and burned tied up at the back of a van in what was clearly an honor crime.

Some day there will be equality in its truest sense, but currently in KP and elsewhere the men with their hyped male bravado are at the reign. They rule with a combination of fanfare, gusto, and ambivalence and as a result they are putting forth a gore-fest.

There are so many things that one can die for. Being of undefined gender should not be one of them.

This is a country of utter futility. The following month the pious will pray for forgiveness and will prostrate and vow to be kind to their fellow beings. This will probably not be on the list for either forgiveness or charity.

Rest in peace Alesha. Pakistan has failed you and your people.





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1 Comment

  1. elleclayton

    Rest in Power Alesha.

    Unfortunately, the hospital and police tend not to mark the end of the complications for us trans folks in the west either. Until recently, many medical professionals outright refused services to trans people. And they’re still housing trans women with men in a lot of jails and prisons, sometime costing them their lives. There are no safe places for trans people anywhere. We are hunted and erased from one corner to the next.


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