Transgender: A Biological issue or a Linguistic One?

It was only a short while back in 2011 that the Government of Pakistan added a third category of gender in the National Identity Cards, which means for the initial sixty-four years an entire gender had no identity. But the identity crisis for the trans community dates longer than the history of this country, it dates back to the British Raj which laid down the concrete foundations through which the origins of an entire community were to be erased for centuries to come.

According to the rules regarding societal proprieties being trans was an unnatural and immoral state of being and any person found ‘guilty’ of the sin was to be severely punished. It is important to note here that before the British Raj the trans community held a prestigious position in the Indian culture with associations to good luck and celebration. The sudden shift in the attitude of an entire nation towards a chunk of itself had a lot to do with the book of appropriate behaviors and civilization that the British brought along to preach to the brown skinned.

Transgender in pakistan


It is also important to note here that the language which has found its dominance over the entire world has no personal pronoun for the third gender, where there is one for both the female and male gender. It is therefore entirely possible that the culture set out to promote civilization and liberalism, which is now the advocate for acceptance and rights of the trans community and which has singled out cultures like that of Pakistan for stigmatizing the third gender, is responsible for the strong taboos attached to it.

Transgenders in Pakistan

Which brings us to the issue of whether the transgender issue is actually an issue or a linguistic dictation. While the common belief is that the transgender crisis is a biological problem indicating that the natural existing state of an individual is believed to be ‘unnatural’, a disease, a condition, a problem. Also indicating that the health of a perfectly normal human being is put into doubt due to the presence or absence of certain sex organs that the vast majority expects to be a certain way. The indication to a problem suggests a solution, a solution to being transgender. Why is it that nobody has ever told a man that there was a solution to his ‘condition’ and who decided that the transgender ‘condition’ needed a solution or a distinction in terms of humanity? Why is it that while applying for your National Identity Card in Pakistan you have to present a medical certificate proving that you are transgender? Why is it that no other sex is put under this humiliation?

Transgenders in Pakistan

What is it which brews such mistrust for the trans in the ‘normal’? Is it not language? The language which invaded the subcontinent and plundered at its culture replacing it with a confused, complexed and a more extreme one at the brunt of which were the peacocks of India forced to doubt their beauty and strength. Caged in imperialist normalcy and thrown into dark alleys protecting the ‘natural’ order of the British society from getting contaminated.

While one cannot deny the presence of religious misunderstanding and deep rooted cultural sexism while discussing the transgender ‘problem’ one can absolutely not rule out the possibility that the problem stems out of the word problem itself suggesting that it is entirely the result of a hangover from a foreign language.

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