After becoming the first transgender model to catwalk at the annual Pakistan Fashion Design Council fashion show, Marvia Malik has now become Pakistan's first transgender news anchor.
The journalism graduate, who has also worked as a model, anchored her first show on private broadcaster Kohenoor on Friday after three months of training. Even after being educated, transgender people are looked down upon and elucidated upon the fact saying that she is journalism degree holder but even she faced the same difficulties as the people of her community who simply beg or dance in the streets.
For although transgender people technically enjoy better rights in Pakistan than in many other nations, in practice they are marginalised and face discrimination in education and jobs. According to local reports, the channel hired Marvia Malik as a newscaster, and she appeared first appeared on-air on March 23. "We should be given equal rights and be considered ordinary citizens, instead of third-gender", Malik said. It feels like home here at work; I feel they're all my family because I never got a family's love. It's the age of social media and there's nothing that my family doesn't know. "The channel management told me the same day they wanted to support me and my community", Dawn.com reported her as saying.
Transgender people in Pakistan are often mocked and discriminated against in the workplace.
Junaid Ansair, the owner of Kohenoor, has said Malik had been selected on merit and not on gender issues. While speaking to VOA News, Ansari said that the channel had asked aspiring news presenters to come for the auditions. "I got a call from one of my team members who said that one of the applicants was a transgender", he said, adding he made a decision to hire Marvia despite some reservations expressed by his team. They are human beings too and they should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
This came weeks after the Pakistan Senate approved a bill empowering members of the transgender community to determine their own gender identity.
Depriving a transgender person from inheriting property shall be punished with 5-year to 10-year imprisonment or with a fine of Rs1 million or both.
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