Transgender people experience very little amount of rights, respect and dignity in Pakistan. In Pakistan, they are not considered as a part of society and face rejection from family and society. Transgender are firstly identified by the families and are perceived as homosexuals by community due to which family shows aggressive attitude toward them. Transgender are disregarded in every field of life including, education, employment, health care and even safety for their life. In Pakistan because they are verbally, physically, emotionally and sexually abused by others. . This piece is being written in the light of a research that was conducted in GC University, Lahore. As a Researcher I got hold of their personal experiences of societal rejection that they face at every level of their life.
They most often face ridicule and violence from family and friends, most of them leave their homes at an early age to find protection among other gender ambiguous people. The susceptibility of mental health problems including psychological distress among transgender people is higher than other individuals. In context to particular psychological distress, it has concluded that transgender individuals reported higher levels of anxiety and depression as compared to the other population.
Most transgender individuals face hiding their identity, shame and guilt in their developmental phase. Hiding supports the meaning that they do not show their true feelings because of their fear of rejection, because they are not accepted by the society and they want to spend a normal life. Transgender people experience guilt due to the perceived concept that their bodies are different. This shame and guilt that many transgender face is commonly the root cause of developing psychological distress.
Transgender people are rejected by their biological parents as well as other family members due to which their need for love and belongingness is not fulfilled which results in distress. The current study was conducted in Lahore by Fatima & Sarfraz, the sample consisted of 150 Transgender out of which 54% had clinically significant distress and social rejection turned out to be the significant predictor of psychological distress among this population. Similar researches have been conducted in different parts of the world as well which came up with almost the same findings. Another interesting finding was that transgender living with their GURU reported less distress as compared to the ones living alone. As one of them reported “I feel more appreciated with my guru family because they understand my needs and do not judge me for what I am”. Those having intimate partners reported less psychological distress as compared to others. Although the partners were reported to be sexually abusive and less available emotionally but they somehow felt wanted by their partners, someone they can call or with whom they can go out to spend some quality time. This sheds light on the very need of humans to feel associated and socially accepted. Having a family is very important for a healthy life as it is said human beings are social beings but transgender people are deprived of this very basic need because of the rejection and the ridicule they face by the society in general and their own families in particular.
About fifty percent of the Participants had never been to school, 28% reported to have left school by primary because of the social rejection they faced from peers and even teachers. One of them reported “No one wanted to sit with me or talk to me” another said “This society is not ready to accept us as humans, we are ridiculed and made fun of at every stage even by our own siblings”. Looking at the findings of this research and few other indigenous researches it is very important to build up places for transgender people regarding psychological services and to enhance their social support system. Education regarding their rights, inclusion in the society and rehabilitation should be of prime importance. We have to work together to build this society to be more welcoming and tolerant towards transgender people.