“Eunuchs” and Rights

The Petition

Under the aegis of his organization the Insaan Welfare Trust, Mr. Aslam Khaki, advocate, filed a constitutional petition (Constitutional Petition no. 63/2009) under article in the Supreme Court alleging the infringement of the fundamental rights of “Eunuch’s” (a term that is used as an English translation for “Hijra”).

The incident that forms the basis of the petition is “the case of molestation, humiliation and arresting the most vulnerable the most oppressed section of the society i.e. Eunuch or middle sex (also called as She males) by the Taxila Police on 23/1/2009″. Continue reading ““Eunuchs” and Rights”

Walking the Line

Every society is an accumulation of certain norms and belief systems which define and establish the standard operating procedures by which it functions. However, the basic difference lies in the nature of the society: traditional cultures have relatively rigid, conservative and holistic approaches towards social institutions and liberal cultures are more open, liberal and individualistic in nature. Therefore, gender roles are more fluid and less conventional in liberal cultures unlike traditional cultures that have more stringent gender role divisions with fixed gender types pertaining to what it means to be masculine or feminine. Continue reading “Walking the Line”

Broken Nets

Today I cast my net in lonely red waters. The red river looks redder today and the fish is scarce. Everyone else is fishing in the waters yonder. They have politely but firmly let me know there is no place there for my little boat. All day I have sat here and I haven’t caught half a regular morning’s worth. Shanti and Reva look at me with curious eyes from their boat. I know that wily old Ram ’kaideo has been wagging his tongue all around the village ever since the Army inquisition. Everywhere I go, I meet with the same glances — half curious, half afraid. And today I have been silently distanced from them all. Continue reading “Broken Nets”

*Gasp!* Premarital Sex!

This article has been extracted from a blog I recently started, ‘Nice Mangos’. The blog deals with different aspects of Pakistani sexuality and the difficulties I as a writer have had, trying to convince people to talk to me about this unreasonably taboo subject. Nothing good can come from being so tight lipped about our sexuality, we need to open up, discover, speak and air out a whack-load of issues. I conducted these interviews several years ago during a not-so-brief stay in Pakistan…

Honestly, I don’t believe that most people in the world wait until they’re married to have sex. But many Pakistanis will tell you otherwise. And since, by this time, even more people have refused to do an interview with me, I’m getting a smaller slice of the Pakistani pie than before. So really, I now have access to less than a handful of people within a very limited age range because people outside of that age range are either too old fashioned to talk about sex, or too young to be asked about sex.

Not ideal conditions at all… Continue reading “*Gasp!* Premarital Sex!”

Can We Be Sexually Diverse in Bangladesh?

Define yourself sexually.

Pinpoint the first time you became aware of your sexual organs.

Share when you became cognisant of being a different gender from others.

Those were the provoking, intimate, and self-analysing questions and exercises asked to the participants at a recent gender, sexuality, and sexual rights workshop. These inquiries engaged the participants to comprehend, de-construct and re-construct the social definitions of gender and sexuality imposed upon them.

Continue reading “Can We Be Sexually Diverse in Bangladesh?”

Hijra, Marriage and the Law

On 24 May, 2010, in Peshawar, Rani, Malik and 45 other people were arrested for holding a wedding ceremony. Rani is a known Hijra (third gender/trans woman) while Malik is a cisgender man who also had two previous marriages. Both Rani and other prominent members of the Hijra community denied the fact that a wedding ceremony was taking place, and said that the function was in fact a “salgirah” which is an annual function that is celebrated by a Hijra or Zanana where other members of the community are also invited.

The police’s story is that station house officer Shahzad, while on patrol in the area, received information that a wedding ceremony was taking place between a Hijra and a man. On receiving this information he raided Rani and Malik’s residence along with other police officers and arrested Rani, Malik and all the guests present there. They also took into custody the clothes belonging to both Rani and Malik, musical instruments found at the scene and other items including a Kalashnikov. Continue reading “Hijra, Marriage and the Law”