In Pakistan’s Floods, Trans People ‘Languishing Silently in Pain’


In Pakistan‘s second year of disastrous flooding, one group is particularly suffering — transgender people or ‘hijra‘.

Mohammad Ali, President of the Roshni Helpline Trust, a Pakistan NGO which helps vulnerable groups, told the Express Tribune that the transgender community is more socially and economically vulnerable. They are not welcomed in relief camps and do not have easy access to services which may be available to other internally displaced persons (IDPs).

National identity cards (which many people from the transgender community still do not have) are required for accessing relief services such as Watan Cards, shelter and non-food items, Ali says.

The Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), a Karachi-based organization that fights for the rights of this marginalized community, is trying to help about 25 transgender people who have lost everything in this year’s floods with shelter and food. But most help needs aren’t reaching the group, they say. They are also collecting funds to run free medical camps in Sindh and Balochistan.

There are about 16,000 to 17,000 transgender people settled in the flood-affected Sindh province. However, neither the government nor any NGO is maintaining figures on the affected and displaced people from this community.

30-year-old Saniya lost her three room house in Sindh and has no place to go. She is not welcome at any relief camp because other people are not ready to live with her. Neither can she get relief aid because she does not have a national identity card, and “besides, normal people are considered more genuine.”

Many other trans people have been affected by the disaster, she says.

“There are several others languishing silently in pain. Business has also gone down because most people I used to entertain have been displaced,” Saniya adds.

Commonly in Pakistan, transgenders have either been entertainers, sex workers or beggars.

Although throughout the Indian sub-continent they have occupied a unique position ever since the Mughal empire in the 16th Century when they were given special roles in the royal court, they do suffer in Pakistan. In Peshawar, in August, the City police took seven men into custody after transvestites complained of being sexually harassed and physically tortured by them.

Pakistan is the second country after Nepal to introduce a third gender category on its national identity cards.

Although recognizing the community as having its own gender category will not solve all of the transgenders’ problems, Pakistan’s Supreme Court made further recommendations, saying that transgenders should also be allocated a certain number of government jobs.

It is specifically recommended that they be appointed as tax collectors to utilize their “special skills.”

  • GIA are collecting funds for shelter, food and medical needs. To contact them, email


Related Stories:

Documenting the Lives of Iraq’s Gay Refugees

One Trans Person Is Murdered Every Other Day

Guide to the Latest on Pakistan’s Terror Ties


Picture Salman Siddiqui


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Just a sad story, of PEOPLE who are not accepted -- and when they need it most. What a world. Live and let live.

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Carola M: You say (Quote) They're (i.e Muslims) primitive barbarians who believe women without veils are "uncovered meat & asking for it", just as they've been taught about western women.(Unquote)

You have discovered why muslim rapists rape and give their reasons. Also the fact that they are taught this from the beggining.

I haven't been taught such a thing at any point and i am also a muslim. However i am curious, since you know the reasons for muslim men commiting rape, could you also tell me why caucaisian Christian civilised men commit rape also? are they also taught from the beggining about these things?

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Ron and Jay B:

I am afraid i can not concur with homosexuality even as a recommended practice. Every Homosexual has to be and should be thankful to the hetrosexual orientation for his/ her own very existence.

Homosexuals have always hidden behind the curtain of "i was created this way" and "I can't change." and even going the extra mile to establish that homosexuality is a normal orientation created in nature. The very fact that God created a vagina which is designed in such a beautiful way that its purpose can't be missed. And if you have failed to see the divine design then you have failed to see the divine purpose and consequerntly the divine will and wish. Homosexuality corrupts the very puposes of divine plans which is the continuation and preservation of the human race. Homosexuality and not hetrosexuality blasphemes the good God.

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Rob and Jay B:

YOu say (Quote): racism (haven't you read what Mo said about people of color like you? He said you are inferior - Q9:61,Ishaq243,Tabari II 11&21) (Unquote)

Here is Quran 9:61:

"And among them are those who abuse the Prophet and say, "He is an ear." Say, "[It is] an ear of goodness for you that believes in Allah and believes the believers and [is] a mercy to those who believe among you." And those who abuse the Messenger of Allah - for them is a painful punishment".

I am really at a loss. Where does this verse even remotely say anything of racism or color being inferior. Man you dont even know the basics of things nor can you even quote straight. All three accusations did not matich up with the refrences you have quoted and i have reproduced them below as well.

And oh Yea, a word of advice that i have given you thrice before. Dont quote from Ibn-e-Ishaq. No one considers him credible.

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Rob and Jay B: (cont)

....if she is past mensturation or if she has not had mensturation since her divorce she may be pregnant and so must wait three months.

But i think your confusion may have arisen from the fact that since you are gay and your sex partner wont have mensturation. Let me kindly explain. Women have monthly mensturation cycles. when they get pregnant the mensturation stops until she gives birth. If a woman is pregnant she can't be divorced because it would be unfair to women and asks the men (who are partly responsible for the pregnancy) to bear the responsibility.

I could answer all your accusations (now for the umpteenth time) but i will answer with this one at least. You say:

(Quote): sex with prepubescent boys (Mohammed took one with him on his travels to 'relieve' him) (Unquote)

Muhammad (PBUH) always traveled with at least one of his wives. He never had any boy to "relieve" him sexually. And relief can come non-sexually as well. But of course if someone was purposely looking to create filth or scandal............

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Rob and Jay B:

And Nawawi adds to the fiqh of this hadith further. But anything that he adds are not the words of the Prophet (PBUH) and hence not binding. The reason why i have always said that you are not qualified to raise valid objections is because you view the Quran and Hadith as you view the Bible. In the Bible there is a mix of things said by Christ and his followers and to christians they are all binding. But in Islam the word of God is separated from the word of the Prophet (PBUH) and the opinon of others including commentary are kept separate.

Similarly the other objection was Quran 65:04: Here is the actual text of it:

"And (as for) those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, if you have a doubt, their prescribed time shall be three months, and of those too who have not had their courses; and (as for) the pregnant women, their prescribed time is that they lay down their burden; and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah He will make easy for him his affair."

Where does it say that this Ayat licences marrying younger girls. In Islam a girl who has not had mensturation is not of marriagable age anyway. Or if married for any reason, is not allowed to have sex even in the bonds of matrimony. This Ayat is about Divorce and the time after which a divorcee can re marry. If a woman is pregnant she can't be divorced until she has brought forth her baby, if she is past mensturation or if she has not had mensturation since her divorce she may be

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Rob and Jay B:

The Christ Jesus came to fulfill the law not to abrogate it. I have quoted him saying so. The pharisees were jsut sticking to the letter of the law and not the spirit of it. they had found ways to violate the spirit of the law while maintaing the letter of the law. Therefore whatever he says is in accordance with the law of Moses.

Sahih Muslim 525 merely states that one should wash after having sex. i dont know where you come up with the interpretation that this Hadith relates to having sex with animals.

Here is the actual Hadith: ‘If one sits between a woman’s fours (shu’biha Al-arba’) and then fatigues her, then it necessitates that he wash.’

The addition in that hadith by Zuhair of the word (shu’biha Al-arba’) is his own, not the actual part of the hadith. here he is merely adding his own understanding thats why its in brackets. the woman's four are interpreted as the arms and the legs, while others have said that it refers to the legs and thighs, and other said it means the legs and the edge of the pubic area. Al-Qadi Ayad chose the meaning of the four areas surrounding the vagina. The word (Shu’b) means areas, its singular form being (Shu’bah). As for those who say (Ashba’iha) that is the plural of the word (Shu’b). But there is consensus about the word Woman here and since the word Woman is used it can only mean Human, not animal.

And Nawawi adds to the fiqh of this hadith further. B

Beth S.
Beth S.5 years ago

Jay, those are really good points. Beyond those frightening statistics, there are even more.

Unfortunately, Islam is so imbued with hatred for the "other", that it within the Islamic world the Sunnis square off with the Shia, the Shia and the Sunnis attack the Achamdiyya and the Sufis. Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Jaines largely don't go around killing each other anymore.

Islam cannot live in the modern world in peace with anyone without forcing themselves down the others' throats. Submission (what Islam means) is the game, and Muhammad and followers are some of the worst and most persistent control freaks the world has ever seen.

Islam has no respect for others' ways of life, whether a different religion, a sexual orientation, secularists or democracies. Everyone must bow to Islam's way of thinking or doing, or else.

Or Else happens every day, all over the world, where Muslims are slaughtering Christians, Buddhists, Jews, animists, Hindus and others wherever the paths converge and screaming, "Allahu Achbar" while delivering their blows.

Even in those Islamic countries where women have more freedoms than in others Islamic countries, this is a function of their proximity to Western societies. As the Arab Storm barrels its way through many Arab countries, the relatively secular freedoms they have are leaving Islamic fundamentalist/extremist, freedom-hating theocracies in its wake.

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S.5 years ago

Ameer contd: Homosexuality is known to exist in at least 1500 animal species. Are they all sinful too? Should they all be killed?Nothing could be more decadent, sinful & debauched than Islamic teachings condoning sex with little children, child 'marriage' to filthy old men(Q65:4), inbreeding/incest that is common causing birth defects & lower IQ (36% of all genetic birth defects in the UK are from Pakistani Muslims alone), sex with animals(Sahih Muslim 525), sex with prepubescent boys (Mohammed took one with him on his travels to 'relieve' him), murdering people who criticize your silly beliefs & those who have the sense to leave Islam, sealing up a woman (never a man, of course) in a room to slowly die because she might be 'lewd' (what no headscarf?), sex slaves, slavery (still accepted in Islam), racism (haven't you read what Mo said about people of color like you? He said you are inferior - Q9:61,Ishaq243,Tabari II 11&21), polygamy & infinite numbers of 'temporary' mut'a wives just for sex flings. All of this debauchery & you think people who love those of the same sex are sinful & should be killed? You are the pervert here.

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S.5 years ago

Ameer contd: No one can change their sexual orientation - can you? Do it now. Prove it. So why would any intelligent, educated person/deity think anyone chooses their sexual orientation? It doesn't happen. We are all born with what we are meant to be - created by a Good God, not Allah the Moon God or the fierce Jehovah et al. Sexual orientation doesn't make us bad or good. So why if it was such a big deal did god create homosexuals in all species? It's just an old tribal prejudice which has much to do with the contempt of women & the idea that homosexuals must therefore have to take the role of women in sex, thus making them even more contemptible than women because they supposedly 'choose' to do act like the inferior sex. This all blasphemes the Good God.

The OT also says a son who disrespects his father should be killed along with a whole raft of others. How can anyone believe in crap like this? You'd have a hard time finding any intelligent, educated, modern Jew who does. The OT & Qur'an are full of hate for more than just gay people. They both preach hatred & death to all not of their particular private group. Disgusting. This just emphasizes the need of real science based education in Muslim societies instead of brainwashing in nothing but this primitive tribal ignorance.