Breaking barriers

As society, we must recognise need to welcome and accept everyone for societal prosperity and growth.

Sobia Khan has become the second transgender individual from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to contest in the general elections. The courage demonstrated by Maria, the first transgender person to contest in K-P in 2018, now echoed by Sobia, sends a positive message to the marginalised and vulnerable, not just within K-P but across the country. In recent years, there has been a disturbing trend of brutal attacks and murders targeting transgender individuals across K-P due to pervasive prejudice against them. These incidents have exacerbated the marginalisation and isolation faced by an already vulnerable community.

The ability of Maria and Sobia to confront obstacles and undertake such a challenging task shows that there are individuals in the country with the courage and motivation to make a positive impact. The former PPP government in Sindh undertook a series of initiatives to empower transgender individuals and improve their participation in the democratic process. Political participation and representation are crucial steps in fostering an inclusive society. The presence of transgender persons and other minorities in elected offices will enhance their involvement in decision-making allowing them to voice their issues and address systemic barriers that hinder their political engagement.

The widespread criticism of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, coupled with the exclusion of transgender individuals from mainstream events, has fueled hostility and hate against the transgender community. It’s unfortunate that a majority has chosen hate over acceptance. As a society, we must recognise the need to welcome and accept everyone for societal prosperity and growth. Sobia plans to carry out an extensive door-to-door outreach campaign to garner support from both male and female voters. Sobia’s nomination and subsequent success can serve as a monumental feat paving the way for diversity and dismantling years-long oppression and stigmatisation.

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