April 3, 2019
By Rahemeen Yusuf
The Constitution of Pakistan has some laws to safeguard the rights of transgender people, when it comes to enforcing these laws; hardly any of them are implemented. The transgender community of Pakistan greatly suffers in terms of the societal stigma that is attached to them. They are often subjected to physical and sexual violence and not given the respect that they are striving for. They are also deprived of their Fundamental Rights, one of which is Education.
Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi is a strong advocate for the Right to Education, which states that every child between the ages of 5-16 years should have access to free Education. It is the basic right of every child irrespective of their ethnicity, gender or status. Therefore, the transgender community cannot be eliminated from their right to have access to the free and quality Education that the government has promised to provide to the children of Pakistan.
By providing them with free Education and ensuring inclusivity in the Education sector, not only will their basic rights be fulfilled, but the respect that they deserve within society, where they are stigmatized the most, will be preserved. To integrate transgender children and ensure an inclusive school environment, it is vital that certain changes are made within schools. This needs to be done in order to ensure that these children do not face any discrimination that can lead to isolation resulting high drop-out rates and poor learning levels.
These changes involve making separate washrooms in schools for them so that they do not face discrimination or harassment while using public washrooms. Proper procedures and regulations should be put in place where teachers monitor and ensure that there are no incidences of bullying. Teachers should become trained and sensitized to the lives of these children so that they can educate the rest of the children to be more respectful and understanding towards them. By doing so many children who are deprived of their basic right of getting educated, because of being categorized as gender variant, can get equal access to Education.
The integration of transgender community into society needs to start in early childhood; gender sensitization needs to mainstream into society through Education. This way, these children have an improved footing to overcome the extreme socioeconomic challenges that they face, and participate in a level playing field with all other children.