The First Eunuch Church, which congregates in informal spaces rather than in actual buildings, is Pakistan’s only transgender church.
“We no longer need to worry about worship,” explained Angel. “Now we have our own church and we worship here. Now there [some] peace in life. “
In 2018, Pakistan introduced what was hailed as the most progressive legal protection for transgender people in Asia. The law allows them to identify their own gender on official documents and guarantees protection from harassment.
Pakistan’s last census in 2017 recorded around 10,000 transgender people, although the real figure is thought to be much higher.
In reality, however, discrimination and physical assault remain rife and many say they have little opportunity to earn money other than sex work and begging.
“Words can’t describe how hard it is for a trans person to get from church to church,” said Angel, who runs a beauty salon at the Buffalo colony in Karachi. “When sitting on a chair, the people who sit together will separate. Some would say it’s a ladies place. Do not sit here. “
Nisha Rao, 28, a transgender woman who became the country’s first lawyer, listens to one of her clients at her office in Karachi, Pakistan November 23, 2020. Lawyer Nisha Rao maneuvers among a crowd of lawyers in black robes who have gathered near the Karachi city court to search for for his clients. REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro
Nisha Rao, 28, a transgender woman who became the country’s first lawyer, works in her office in Karachi, Pakistan 18 November 2020. Life is difficult for transgender people in Pakistan, where the Supreme Court only allows them to claim a third gender on national identity cards them in 2009. REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro
Nisha Rao, 28, a transgender woman who became the country’s first practicing lawyer, speaks with colleagues at the district City Court in Karachi, Pakistan, November 23, 2020. Rao also ended up begging on the streets after escaping from his middle-class home in the city east of Lahore when he was 18 with two other transgender people. REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro
Nisha Rao, 28, a transgender woman who became the country’s first lawyer, shares moments with colleagues at the district City Court in Karachi, Pakistan, November 23, 2020. But Rao, 28, is not just another lawyer running for the meeting. As Pakistan’s first transgender lawyer, he has carved his way from the street to the courtroom and his example inspired other transgender people in the conservative Islamic Republic. REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro
Nisha Rao, 28, a transgender woman who became the country’s first lawyer, takes a selfie with her colleagues, at the district Municipal Court in Karachi, Pakistan, 23 November 2020. REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro
Nisha Rao, 28, a transgender woman who became the country’s first practicing lawyer, takes a taxi in Karachi, Pakistan 18 November 2020. REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro
KARACHI, Pakistan – Lawyer Nisha Rao maneuvers among a crowd of black-robed lawyers who have gathered near a Karachi city court looking for his client.
But Rao, 28, isn’t the only lawyer running for the meeting. As Pakistan’s first transgender lawyer, he has carved his way from the street to the courtroom and his example inspired other transgender people in the conservative Islamic Republic.
“I am proud to be Pakistan’s first transgender lawyer,” Rao told Reuters.
Life is tough for transgender people in Pakistan, where the Supreme Court only allowed them to claim a third gender on their national identity cards in 2009. Parliament recently passed a law in 2018 that recognizes transgender people as equal citizens and protects them. from discrimination and violence.
Treated as outcasts, many transgender people are victims of sexual violence and are forced to work as wedding dancers or beg for a living.
Rao also ended up begging on the streets after running away from his middle-class home in the eastern city of Lahore when he was 18 with two other transgender people.
Arriving in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, elderly transgender people she meets advise her to beg or become a sex worker to survive.
Rao stood at the traffic lights begging from car to car but determined to escape the road, eventually using his earnings to pay for law classes at night.
After a few years, he obtained a law degree, obtained his law license earlier this year and joined the Karachi Bar Association.
She has championed 50 cases and worked with non-governmental organizations fighting for transgender rights.
Rao has expanded its customer base to include non-transgender people
“Because my case is related to harassment, I feel that Rao can best represent me because transgender people are often abused in our society,” said Jeya Alvi, 34, an office secretary who met with Rao for consultation.
The 2017 census counted 10,418 transgender people out of the country’s 207 million, but rights group Charity Trans Action Pakistan estimates there are at least 500,000.
“Rao used to beg here with us, today he is better than many. But he still helps us, he even responds in the middle of the night (if we contact him), ”said Nayab, a transgender beggar who only has one name.
Rao has bigger goals than becoming a lawyer.
“My goal is to become Pakistan’s first transgender judge,” he said.
Brazil is one of the world’s deadliest countries for LGBTQI people. Although homophobia and transphobia are considered crimes, same-sex marriage is allowed, gay and lesbian couples are allowed to adopt children and transgender people can change the gender in their passports, tolerance for alternative roles and gender identities is low, especially outside big cities. .
Every year, hundreds of LGBTQI people are killed in the country, where macho culture and the ultra-conservative evangelical church still wield great influence. According to some human rights groups, this makes Brazil the world leader for such deaths, at least among the countries for which data is available.
For this reason, equal rights activists and advocates are thrilled that three times as many transgender candidates – people who do not identify at all or only partially with their biological gender – are running in the upcoming local elections than four years ago.
According to data from the National Association of Travestics and Transsexuals (ANTRA), 281 trans people ran for local political office, including two for mayor and one for deputy mayor. In 2016, only 89 trans people ran, according to ANTRA.
Trans people in Brazil often live on the margins of society
The more women, the more non-whites
Brazil’s High Electoral Court itself only distinguishes between women and men in the details it provides about candidates. It said one-third of the 557,000 candidates were (biologically) women and two-thirds (biologically) men. This means that the proportion of women who took part in the elections was 1.7 percentage points higher than in the 2016 ballot.
Another difference this time has to do with skin color or ethnicity. According to the court, 51.3% of the candidates defined themselves as “pardo” (brown), “preto” (black), “indigena” (native) or “amarelo” (Asian). That’s more than in any previous year – and, according to the media, for the first time non-white candidates are in the majority. In a country where 51% of the population comes from Africa and racism is still widespread, this is very significant.
One of the two trans people running for mayor is Leticia Lanz, who wants to head Brazil’s eighth largest city, Curitiba, in the country’s south. On Facebook, Lanz, a 68-year-old transgender woman who is married to a woman, stated: “I want not only to win your vote, but your mind, heart and hands.”
While Lanz is a candidate from the left-wing Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), there are also trans candidates from the other end of the political spectrum. The second trans person to run for mayor is Bianca Biancardi from the Brazilian Women’s Party (PMB). As the name suggests, this party is not a feminist party but a party leaning towards the right. Biancari, who runs a beauty salon in the southeastern city of Cariacica, said in a recent interview that she is a Christian and advocates a conservative position.
When asked about the prejudice held by many conservatives, and in particular by far-right populist President Jair Bolsonaro, against trans people, Biancari, a trans woman, said: “It has been years since Bolsonaro made critical comments, if he ever did. He was right. – really has a problem with trans people, he won’t let Family Minister Damares Alves undertake a national project to increase the opportunities for LGBTQI people in the labor market. “
The project does exist – but it stands out as the only thing the controversial minister has done for the LGBTQI community. Previously, Alves, an evangelical pastor, tended to draw attention to comments such as that girls should wear pink and boys blue.
Alves supports traditional gender roles
Alves, who is tasked with protecting minorities, has also defended Bolsonaro against accusations of homophobia and transphobia. “They call him homophobic, but he has gay friends. And he appreciates this ministry, which has an LGBT department,” he said last year. But it remains an open question whether he convinces anyone with this argument.
Local elections in Brazil always take place two years after the presidential election and are seen as a litmus test for voter sentiment at the national level. And it’s also true that at this year’s election, there will be 34% more evangelical candidates in the ballot than there were four years ago.
Even so, many predicted that the fundamentalist Christian camp would be hit hard. Key Republican candidates – the political arm of the evangelical “Universal Church” – such as Celso Russomanno in Sao Paulo are likely to face setbacks. Rio de Janeiro’s ultraconservative mayor, evangelical bishop Marcelo Crivella, is also likely to lose his position after a series of corruption scandals and administrative violations.
There have been many protests against Bolsonaro being considered homo- and transphobic
Politicization through violence
The pilkada is the first time trans candidates have been allowed to run under their “social name” – the way they want to be named according to their gender identity. Overall, 171 candidates have taken advantage of this option.
Keila Simpson, president of the NGO ANTRA, believes that one of the reasons so many trans people than ever before are running for the 2020 elections is the violence they face. In May alone, 38 trans people were murdered in Brazil, Simpson told Spanish newspapers Country.
“That’s why there is a political revival in society. The trans agency itself is political, but running as a candidate is a statement against everyone who wants to hand it over to the margins of society,” Simpson said.
* Travesti is a transgender identity with regional and contextual distinctions across Brazil and Latin America (Notes from the ANTRA website)
In the fall of 1969, a five-year-old boy named Timothy Chappell, in his first term at school, I had an idea. If he could, he asked his mother to go to class as a girl?
“Mom looked at me,” says Timothy, – Sophie-grace – “and there was fear and rage in her eyes. And she said to me, why?”
Chappell tells her whole story is contained in that exchange: Timothy stunned, but the certain knowledge that he is in someone else’s body; his mom with the understanding to treat this and her horror about what this might mean, and her anger for a little boy to call him.
Of course, Timothy who was raised in bury, Lancashire, went to school as a boy and spent his childhood in childhood. At that time he was married and had four children, but in 2014 he moved, and now lives as a woman. “For decades I’d hate myself hidden who I was. But in the end it just didn’t work and the wonderful thing about the transition was that I had finally managed to stand up and say: this is who I really am.”
We talk on Skype and Chappell home in Dundee, dressed in a cream shirt and a string of beads. She looks comfortable and relaxed, you feel that her 50-ies there was a revival, and she enjoys life to the fullest. Now Professor of philosophy at The Open University – the only open transgender person to hold the chair of the UK in her subject, she said – Chappell book also Voronova trust principal research fellow and is writing a book on Revelation that is clear and personal, as well as scientific resonances.
Although she has spent most of his life hiding his identity, he was a driving force throughout his academic career. First, as a bright child at school, then as a student at Oxford and continuing through a string of University lectures, the scientific community became a safe haven for Chappell.
“At school I put my energy to escape into the worlds of Tolkien, Ursula Le GUIN, poetry and languages. I was always good as a philologist, and knowledge of another language gives you another personality, makes you different,” she says. “I was desperate to escape, to be someone else to be in another world where I could be me.”
The school has always felt that she does not recognize the“ how to “Taliban”. I was swift and smart, but vulnerable, and always unnecessary, always the child who doesn’t fit in”. When she got a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, she circulates to school and ran down the hallway, “trying to find a teacher, so I can say I told you so, I knew that I could do it.”
The University could begin a different way of life, and for a few heady days when she first went there she thought it would be. “But then I fell in the Christian Union, which was a safe environment where I didn’t have to face who I really was,” she recalls. “It was a form of self-control – something I told myself that I felt inside was an evil, evil, and incompatible with Christian life.”
Homer and Virgil became a different security zone – she studied the classics – and it still immerses itself in the “Iliad” on a daily basis. “It is a healthy food, it feeds you; it makes it easier to deal with everyday struggle,” she says.
After marriage in 1988, and is doing his doctorate in Edinburgh, Chappell returned to Oxford to take a research fellowship at Wolfson College, before moving on to University Of East Anglia lectures on philosophy, and then The University Of Dundee after a short period in Manchester. It was all threaded through with the birth of four daughters, now between the ages of 20 and 27.
For many years, says Chappell, she buried her concerns about her transgender feelings, but gradually they emerged. Among other triggers, Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone “the mirror of Erised … it struck me how truly heartbreaking the way for my own condition,” she wrote in a letter to Rowling. “If I looked in the magic mirror and saw myself exactly as I long to be, what would I see?”
The answer, she continues, is “a woman of course.” So she was stunned in a recent essay Rowling TRANS-activism, women are at risk for the CIS countries.
In order Csepel, the argument about TRANS rights became polarized, partly because so many people on both sides suffered serious injuries, often going back many years. Rowling wrote about domestic violence in their lives, and Chappelle has a trauma with roots Dating back to her childhood.
But the point to Chappell, is: “I think we can liken it to adoption. TRANS women are like foster parents who want to be taken as the same as biological parents. And they are accepted as such, despite the differences in how they became parents in the first place; and if the company can not do the same for TRANS women, we would be in a better place”.
When it comes to the ongoing debate around the law on the recognition of gender, says Chappell-her reaction is to the depletion that the debate is still raging, mixed with disappointment. “The fear of TRANS women is fear of the other and this fear, we can trace through other types of “other” people in other moments of history.
“But we must fight for our rights, and that people are not able to understand who will benefit from the establishment of gay women and TRANS women against each other? The answer, of Course, correct: they want that society dezinformare, ignorant, terrified of otherness and divided, so that makes it easier for them to run it.”
In my discipline, philosophy, divisions are deeply felt. And yet, she believes, the group said, oppose raising the TRANS rights “is often discussed far more than it seems”.
Chappell decided to start living as a woman in 2014; its greatest happiness is that “my lovely family have all agreed and fully supported”. To live with a transgender husband/father wasn’t always easy for them, she says. “We can be hard people to live, we are often annoyed and disappointed. The problem is that there is something about ourselves that even we don’t understand.”
She describes herself as “surgically curious”, but she says there was no pressure to change your body. “If you could wave your wand and become a woman in my body, I would. But in reality, it’s a major operation and there are real cons.”
When she moved, Chappell was able to choose a new name for herself: Sophie, she said, Greek wisdom, and the grace of his gratitude for the gift she could not yet imagine. The impression she gives that she’s enjoying everything about his new life, and even harsh words from one of my favorite authors can’t dent her spirits. Well, as she says, “fabulous concert”; she was nothing but support from the University, especially after she refuses.
She also feels that her work there allowed her to operate one of his deepest beliefs: everyone deserves the chance to prove their potential. “As a society we throw too many people into the dustbin,” she says. “Well it’s all about welcoming everyone. Coming here, I felt like coming home and it’s wonderful to help others find it here.”