Pakistan’s First Transgender School – A Failure on our Part?

Recently Pakistan’s first ever transgender school, “The Gender Guardian” was opened in Lahore by the Exploring Future  Foundation offering different kinds of skill-based courses including graphic designing, cooking and fashion designing.

It received quite a lot of media coverage and praise alike being a bold step to revive a forgotten class of society, after all, it’s a successful initiative, right? Right, but also a reminder of our failure as a society. The message lies in the fact that there shouldn’t have been the need to create such a school in the first place; we should have accepted transgenders into the very schools that exist. Why cannot a transgender study in the various private schools that exist, those very schools that claim to promote the principles of diversity and equality?

Because of what we are. We may recognize them as an equal gender theoretically but we seldom do so practically. Where’s the proof, you may ask? Some would claim the opposite stating that our current institutions are open for them. They are but also not.

Let me explain.

I’ve seen normal students being bullied in school because of their appearances. A kid who is fat is subject to derogatory name calling, a kid who stammers may also sometimes be the victim, a kid who’s thin can be manhandled around by the “healthy” kids so what makes you think transgenders will be left alone? We have failed to protect them. And this stems from the fact that little is done to fix the cause from the inside, from within the roots. We have schools, colleges, and universities implementing rules such as the “No touching rule” but it still doesn’t work and that’s self-explanatory. If a bully hits the kid and the kid reports to the teacher, he’s teased with the label of being a sneak. If he doesn’t tell anyone, well the bullying continues and this is what makes our society so ignorant to the differences around them.

To solve this issue at hand, we must teach our children that it is perfectly well to not be normal, to be amongst those who do not resemble the majority. We must teach them the courage to stand up against those who oppress them in any way. We must teach them to get help because the only issue here at hand is not of bullying, it is beyond that in terms of sexual harassment and other such ill traits found in society. Let’s hope that the next time, there’s no need to create a transgender school and we readily accept those transgenders in the institutions that exist.

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