It was between 2006-2009 sexual rights discussed on an international level and thus UN declared it as human right in 2011.
In forth human international conference for women 1995, sexual rights were at first used within women rights.[Nageen Pe1] And that is the exact approach taken in Pakistan too as we see with the beginning of Aurat march in 2018, lgbtq group also came out under their umbrella of rights for those marginalized but were still not as prominent for several reasons as will discuss in the ILGAAsia report 2021 below.[Nageen Pe2]
Asian Region of the Int’l Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association REPORT 2021 includes some below points to show the efforts and current situation on lgbtq:
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, passed by Pakistan’s Parliament in May 2018, allows people to self-identify as male, female or non-binary and to have that identity recorded on official documents, including passports and ID cards.
- Pakistan still maintains anti-LGBT laws
Despite advances for transgender people in Pakistan, it is still illegal to be gay in the country under a British Colonial-era law that has never been repealed.
Under the law, people who have gay sex can technically be jailed for up to ten years, while gay people have no legal protections from discrimination.
LGBT+ issues are still heavily stigmatised in the country, with a 2013 poll finding that 83 percent of people believing homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
Despite the decriminalisation of gay sex in neighbouring India, attempts to address the issue in Pakistan have gained little traction
Homosexuality is criminalized under the Pakistan Penal Code of 1860, under section 377 as “unnatural offences”. The law stipulated that
“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Several community-based organizations (CBOs) and movements are working for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) rights but they do not want to publicize their work because they fear stigmatization. They are working under the ambit of the transgender rights movement. Section 377 of the Penal Code prohibits discussions about LGB, and the state does not recognize the terms used by the LGB community. Despite this, they have been receiving HIV prevention and treatment services under the CBO model, funded by UNAIDS and implemented by the NACP in the name of MSM (men having sex with men).
Henceforth, as mentioned in the report since there is a fear of stigmatization of LGB, they are working under the ambit of the transgender rights movement. Here we also have proves of how two biological women got married using transgender rights thus this loop hole of homosexual marriage got prominent
To mention a few examples, the case of asma bibi in Taxila who changed her gender into a man married cis woman neha .
Another case of a Thirty-one year old Shumail Raj who lived as a transgender man for 16 years, after undergoing surgery to remove her breasts and uterus. she married her cousin, 26-year old Shahzina Tariq according to Muslim law in September 2006. This case was filed in Lahore High Court and its decision in the favor of couple set the precedent of marrying a transman to cis gender woman.
Now we ll go back and see how transgender amalgamated in our society.
Transgender as a term itself came in 1990s internationally but was never used in pakistan until recently few years back for the transgender act 2018
In 2009 a petitioned was made for NIC of third gender X and it didn’t even mentioned transgender and thus its a newly coined term in our culture. Instead khawajasira or Eunuchs were mentioned in the petition as you can see from the extract of the petition below:
SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN Constitutional Petition No. 43 of 2009 Decided On: 25.09.2012 Appellants: Muhammad Aslam Khaki and Ors. Vs. Respondent: S.S.P. (Operations) Rawalpindi and Ors.
In pursuance of this Court’s direction, a concise statement has been filed on behalf of NADRA. Copy of the same has been handed over to the petitioner in person who after having gone through the same stated that the arrangement being followed by the NADRA for issuing National Identity Cards to the eunuchs (Khwaja Sraa).
Furthermore, in a research study Silent No More Transgender Community in Pakistan by aurat foundation and US AID a prominent extract is quoted here for a purpose which will be discussed later, notice the terminoligies they have used which we will talkabout later:
Guru: Guru is a teacher in the hijra system, under whose apprenticeship a chela (student) learns the principles of the hijra subculture and through whom a chela is identified. Guru is the counterpart of a “patraiarch” in the hijra system. Hijra: Member of the hijra subculture in South-Asia born as males but identifying as third-gender, two-spirit, bi-gender, or transgender women. The hijra sub-culture has its own indigenous language known as faarsi kalaam, and their own mores, norms and traditions. Hijra dera: House where khawajasiras/moorats/hijras live together in a community Khawajasira: Respectful Urdu term for hijras, transgender women and eunuchs Khusra: Derogatory term, aimed at emasculating, for someone without male sexual organs, transgender women, hijras, gay men and effeminate men. MTF: Also known as a “transgender woman”, a person who transitions from “male-to-female,” meaning a person who was assigned male at birth, but identifies and lives as a female. Moorat: Polite term for hijras and khawaja siras
The “hijra” is a South-Asian identity, and a subculture. The subculture prescribes to its own norms, mores, values, rituals and traditions. An indigenous language knows as “farsi kalaam” is spoken by the members of the hijra subculture throughout South Asia. Hijras are also referred to as “khawaja siras”. Both terms can be used interchangeably, with the latter being more popular in Pakistan. Most members of the hijra subculture identify as “third-gender”, and as being born with “a woman’s soul”. Some identify as women, and hence can be categorized as transgender women. Inter-community conflicts are present in this marginalized population. There are power struggles between competing gurus, as well as conflicts on traditions of “zenanas” and “hijras”.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2009 passed a judgment, calling upon the authorities to provide “eunuchs” with third-gender ID cards and to include their names in electoral rolls so that they can take part in elections. Consequently, NADRA began issuing ID cards to transgender community with the sex as male khawaja sira, female khawaja sira or mukhannas. The meanings of these three new sexes are ambiguous and unclear. The first one grants the same legal status as males with similar share in property, the second similarly provides a status similar to that of women, while there is no legal clarity on the third. The card requirements also in some areas asked the transgenders to change their father’s name with that of their guru’s. Secondly, the third gender isn’t recognized in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as a result of which transgenders’ with the third-gender identity cards are unable to perform Hajj. These issues have resulted in many transgenders choosing not to get the cards. The Supreme Court judgment doesn’t grant social security, welfare and protection of human rights to “eunuchs”. As a result many feel that the judgment has not produced positive results and just scratched the surface of a very major problem. Existing Sources of Income, and Avenues for Economic Empowerment As per the findings of the study, the sources of income for transgender community are traditional rituals like toli and vadhai, dance functions, begging, sex-work and other blue-collar jobs that require finesse of the hand like tailoring, embroidery etc. As with changing times old traditions of toli and vadhai are dying out, the major source of income for most transgenders is dancing at weddings events. As income from dancing is seasonal, income from sex-work and begging confer sustainability to their overall revenue. Younger transgenders are considered more beautiful and hence choose dancing and sex-work as professions, while the older ones use begging and toli to earn money. Sources of potential income reduce with increasing age, and as many Table of Contents XVI Transgender Community in Pakistan transwomen don’t save money, financial troubles increase quite significantly for older members of the community. Transgender individuals are often responsible for financially supporting their biological families.
ACCORDING TO THEM For this purpose they propose transgender act 2018 for respectable earning.
But the point to be noticed here is how eunuchs, khawajasira, hijra, khusra and transgender have been synonymous used. How and why? Lets have a look at each of this terms and their origins now
in sociological terms sex is something one is born with and gender is a social construct. There could be many reasons psychological and social why a biological boy would want to act feminine or a biological girl would want to act masculine.[Nageen Pe3]
Transgender– a person who doesnt identify with the biological sex they were born with and make transition into another gender by either cross dressing (dressing like the other gender) or being transsexuals (getting homrmones or surgery done to match the biology of the other sex)[Nageen Pe4]
MUKHANNAS are effiminate men or man who wish to be feminine (transwomen)
Intersex/ KHUNSA: person born with the condition (such as that occurring in congenital adrenal hyperplasia or androgen insensitivity syndrome) of either having both male and female gonadal tissue in one individual or of having the gonads of one sex and external genitalia that is of the other sex or is ambiguous
this is a medical condition and can be treated at birth or maximum by puberty . Its occurrence is also very low below1% of population.
IN PAKISTAN WE HAVE ALWAYS BEING SOCIALLY CONDITIONED TO THINK KHAWAJASEERA ARE INTERSEX, THEY NEVER WERE AND NEITHER THEY ARE NOW.
KHAWAJASEERA were eunuchs and now are mostly TRANSGENDERS and HIJRA [Nageen Pe5]
with very few exceptions intersex may join them too but are not prominently part of them. Eunuchs (initial khawajaseeras)–
1. a castrated man placed in charge of a harem or employed as a chamberlain in a palace
2. a man or boy deprived of the testes or external genitals
3. one that lacks virility or power
hence, eunuchs were biological men initially however, castrated for certain purposes.
Point to note here is Castration was involuntarily (done by force), as compared to the castration done voluntarily nowadays by many transgenders or otherwise khawajasiras [Nageen Pe6]
In a report Khwaja Sir : Culture, Identity Politics, and “Transgender Activism ” in Pakistan by Faris Ahmed Khan, Syracuse University 2014 a historical account is well stablished about khawajasiras:
The historical record of the medieval period focuses on eunuchs or castrated men of the royal Mughal courts. The eunuchs of the medieval era are particularly relevant to this project since the term khwaja sira, which become popular in Pakistan in the first decade of the twentyfirst century, emerges from this era of South Asian antiquity, from where it can be traced as far back to the eunuch slave trade that existed during the time of Prophet Muhammad. The practice of appointing eunuchs in the royal courts thrived during the Roman and Ottoman Empires. The procedures by which males became eunuchs…involved removal of the testes or both testes and penis [of young boys]. Because…Islam prohibited the practice of castration but not the use of castrated slaves…[the operation]…was performed by Christians (and perhaps Jews) in…Ethiopia, and in other locations… (Gomez 2005, 37-8) In the case of the Ottoman Empire, it was the African eunuch who appears to have been preferred. The practice of appointing eunuchs in the royal courts is known to have existed in other Islamic empires, including the Mamluk (1250-1517) and Safavid (1501-1736) dynasties, and eventually the Mughals (1526-1857) also adopted it. The title given to the chief eunuch of the Mughal court was khwaja sira (Manucci 1906, 350), an Urdu term borrowed directly from Persian/Farsi. Eunuchs were typically organized hierarchically with the senior or chief eunuch directing junior eunuchs below him. Chief eunuchs served as army generals, harem guards and advisors to the emperors. Some even supervised the education of princes. Eunuchs ensured that no unauthorized person entered the seraglio; they were considered ideal for the protection of the harem women due to their inability to reproduce and because they were perceived to be sexually non-threatening. Manucci states that the chief eunuch of the seraglio had several other important duties He has a large allowance, has charge of the treasury, is master of the wardrobe, decides on the details and the pattern of Sarapas (robes) to be prepared; in short, it is he who has charge of all the Mughal expenditure of the clothes…and the precious stones, of the jewelry, of everything that goes into or comes out of the palace. (Manucci 1906, 350-1) Lower ranking eunuchs performed the duties of messenger and watchmen. Though emasculated, they were physically strong and highly valued for their strength, which enabled them to perform physically taxing duties. Privy to the inner workings of royal households, eunuchs wielded significant influence and often attained high-status both in the court and in society (Gomez 2005, 37). In fact, Islamic history has witnessed a number of renowned imperial eunuchs. For instance, El-Hajj Beshir Agha (ca. 1657-1746), the most powerful chief eunuch in the history of the Ottoman Empire, was known to have shaped and propagated the official Ottoman brand of Sunni Islam (Hathaway 2006). Likewise, some of the greatest nobles in the Mughal Empire were eunuchs. Imaduddin Rayhan, the chief minister under Sultan Balban, Kafur Hazardinari, the army commander and vice-regent of Alauddin Khalji, and Khurau Shah the favorite of Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji who rose to be king, were all eunuchs…Under the Mughals many important eunuchs…rose to the position of…commanders of armies and governors…The chief Nazirs or Khwaja Saras generally enjoyed the title of Aitmad Khan or Aitbar Khan (the Trusted Lord). (Lal 1994) Through their service to royalty, eunuchs also managed to amass large amounts of wealth (Lal 1994). They were entitled to public revenue, received grants in the form of cash and land, and even had the official right to beg (Preston 1987, 372). As a result of the number of high-paying job openings available to eunuchs in the Mughal Empire, it had become common amongst poor families to convert some of their sons into eunuchs and have them work in the palaces to create a steady source of revenue for the family (Beveridge 1909, 150-1). Jahangir abolished castration but the practice persisted because eunuch slaves had become a profitable commercial commodity. In 1668, Aurangzeb also banned the practice throughout the Empire. However, the 46 custom continued and Jahangir and his successors went on accepting eunuchs as gifts for duties in the harem (Beveridge 1909, 247). Historians speculate that the role of eunuchs as court officials diminished under the collapse of the Mughal rule (Kidwai 1985, 93), and their subsequent criminalization by the British (Pamment 2010, 34). What became of royal eunuchs upon the downfall of the Mughals is uncertain, though khwaja sira oral history suggests that they either went on to establish hijra networks or were integrated into them. What is evident, however, is the vast difference between medieval and contemporary khwaja siras, a disparity that will become obvious in the following chapter. Colonial accounts of Indian history focus on “eunuchs” and “hijras” who British rulers identified as a criminal caste, a classification under which they could be subjected to surveillance and arrest. Hijras were registered under the Criminal Tribes Acts of 1871, which called for the arrest of individuals involved in kidnapping or castrating children, in committing offences under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, those seen publically dressed like women, and those who danced or played music (Reddy 2005, 27). The British variously viewed hijras as naturally impotent men, those born with congenital malformations, and those who voluntarily mutilated themselves (Reddy 2005, 28)
There is another historical account of the origin of khawajasira as mentioned as a myth of a sufi saint named Khawaja who was a biological male but his ‘ruh’ or spirit was of a feminine nature hence he castrated himself so he could free himself from the imprisonment of male body and died in process. Hence his followers are knows as khawajaseera. This is what is khawajaseera ideology that they are trapped in a male body with a feminine ruh and they associate sufism and connection to God by becoming asexual as they perceive. They say ruh is from God and body from earth hence we dominate our Ruh and dimish the body. Now there is almost no evidence for this mythology; regardless its a transformation from biological male to either castrated male or trans women.
Now lastly let explore the term Hijra and its oirigin.
The term hijra is usually and mainly used in india but can be traced back to pre partitioned sub continent again but linked to HINDUISM religion. Many choose to undergo a castration ceremony, removing their male genitalia as an offering to Hindu goddess Bahuchara Mata. So basically with religious significance they came into being.
Furthermore, Historically and culturally hijras are based in Hinduism and they perform solely for Hindus. However, hijras are not all Hindu themselves. Many are Muslim and a few are Christian. In fact, some hijras follow the beliefs and practices of both Hinduism and Islam. For example, some hijras center their community around the Hindu goddess Bahuchara Mata while also taking a Muslim name and observing Islamic traditions such as Ramadan. Just as hijra are not limited by binary views of gender, some are not limited by a single religious tradition. While hijras have been treated with both fear and respect for thousands of years, much of this respect did not survive Hinduism’s encounter with colonialism. The British colonized most of South Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries, and were shocked by third gender people. Based in Christian beliefs about gender at the time, the British named all hijras criminals in 1871, and instructed colonial authorities to arrest them on sight. However, because of their important religious functions for Hindus, hijras persisted without significant interruption. Still, nearly 200 years of stigmatization by the British eventually took a toll.
Therefore we can see how muslims took their customes from hindu religion and adopted in their religion too disguising through so called sufi spiritualism . Hijras were different from Eunches initially though. How the hijra system works is as follows:
The Third Gender and Hijras
HINDUISM CASE STUDY – GENDER | 2018
Most hijras’ defining characteristic is leaving home to become a part of the hijra community, a community which removes itself from wider society and teaches its lessons in secret. A young person is initiated by following a guru, or teacher, who will teach the chela, or disciple, in the hijra ways of life. This includes leaving their home to live in community with other hijras, to learn the ritual roles that they perform in Hindu households. Hijra are expected to perform dances, songs, and blessings at both births and weddings of Hindus. To many Hindus, a hijra’s blessings of a baby will confer fertility, prosperity, and long life on the child. One to two days after a marriage ceremony—hijras will perform to bless the couple for fertility. To many Hindus, it is the third gender nature of hijras—including their sacrifice of their procreative ability to the goddess—that grants hijras this incredible religious power. In fact, hijras also can curse a family if they are disrespectful or refuse to pay for the blessings. Many Hindus, and the hijras themselves, take these blessings and curses very seriously; hijras say they only curse in extreme circumstances. While hijras are often invited to perform these rituals, they will also attend births and marriages unannounced, claiming their right to attend as their sacred religious duty. Fearful of receiving a curse from hijras, Hindu families often welcome them in and pay them for their services, even when uninvited. However, sometimes Hindu families refuse them entry or refuse to pay, even going as far as calling the police. Still, the cultural authority of the hijra is so powerful, that the police will often do nothing to remove them. Hijras are often treated with both respect and fear.
In a nutshell, now if we look at our khawajaseera community in pakistan, isnt it working exactly the same way as these hijras in india, dancing, begging, as sex workers, etc. for many years we (as pakistanis) were told they are born that way and we should never take their curse upon ourselves. Thus inculcating their fear and respect. This false notion of them being born that way is now falsified through the transgender act and the definition of transgender used in the act. Transgender activist like DR moiz claims that because of transphobes genocide of trans people is taking place however, another renowned activist from trans community Julie claims that mostly khawajaseera even recently were murdered and killed because of their individual enmity and revenge in their profession as sex workers and dancers, and not by any outsiders. It high time this community gets exposed. They don’t need acceptance in Islamic republic of Pakistan as Islam completely prohibits from this, but they do need our love and care and thus therapies to undo the damage done, many khawajseera mashaAllah have changed through dawah and tableg so its not impossible to help them out.
TRANSGENDER BILL | | Maulvi with an Attitude | Raja Zia ul Haq & Team
EXPOSING THE DARK AGENDA | Transgender Act 2018 | Maulvi with an Attitude
[Nageen Pe1]However, now in west many feminists have realized how trans women have had adverse effect on them in terms of sports, usage of public washroom, prisons etc.
[Nageen Pe2]It was the same year transgender act 2018 was proposed and passed in parliament but masses were not aware about it until maria b and dr moiz controversy aroused.
[Nageen Pe3]Their issues can be resolved through therapies they dont have to become transgender
[Nageen Pe4]Both conditions not allowed in islam.
[Nageen Pe5]Will discuss the term in a while
[Nageen Pe6]Voluntarily or castrated by choice is not allowed in islam
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