Social Issues

Transgender woman breaks barriers in Pakistan by graduating in medicine

Islamabad, Feb 2 (EFE).- A transgender woman in Pakistan affirms that she has become the first openly transgender person to have graduated in medicine in the conservative Islamic country, apart from securing a job offer at a hospital.

Gill told EFE on Wednesday that the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center in Karachi, capital of the southern Sindh province, has offered her the post of a resident doctor, with just formalities pending before her appointment.

“On the directions from the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, the management of the hospital offered me a job,” said the doctor, who received her MBBS (bachelor of medicine and surgery) degree last month.

Gill, also an activist who advocates her community’s rights, said that one of her biggest wishes is to serve as an example for the transgender people of Pakistan who aspire to reach higher positions.

The doctor’s life has not been easy, just like most of her peers, as she was expelled from her house at the age of 14 when her parents discovered her sexual identity, and later faced repeated abuse and discrimination, common for her community in the country.

“My mother cried a lot when she came to know I was a transgender,” Gill told EFE, adding that she was subsequently adopted by a group of transgender people.

“Now when I have become a doctor, my parents have accepted me again,” said the practitioner, who urged families to support their children irrespective of their sexual orientation, while encouraging trans people to study and aspire for better lives.

Murders, rapes, beatings, insults and employment discrimination are part of the lives of transgender people in Pakistan, and they are often forced into begging, prostitution or dancing for a living.

Such discrimination has continued even though the Supreme Court in 2009 recognized the existence of the “third sex” for official documents. Moreover, in 2018 the country’s parliament passed a law establishing the rights of transsexuals and prohibiting their discrimination in educational institutions and in workplaces.

Gill has become the latest transgender person to break barriers in the country after people like Marvia Malik, who became the first transgender TV host in 2018 and Reem Sharif, who has been fighting for the community’s rights from Pakistani police’s first center for transgender people.

“I want to congratulate Pakistan and the trans community that we did it, we made history,” the doctor had said in a video message after graduating. EFE


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