21 November 2022
By Shaukhat Korai
KARACHI: First ever “Moorat March” (transgender march) held in the historic Frere Hall on November 20 in Karachi to celebrate gender identity and condemn discrimination.
In a rare sight, the country’s marginalized transgender persons organized the ‘Moorat March’ (Trans March) to highlight their gender identity and reclaim public spaces as trans persons.
Members of the Khawajasira and transgender community celebrated their gender identity with a dance and condemned the right-wing narrative that they go against Islam and Pakistan’s cultural norms.
‘Moorat March’ was held against a backdrop of divisiveness as religious parties demanded the repeal of the Transgender Rights Act 2018 on the pretext that it goes against Islamic law and will encourage or legitimize homosexuality.
Since 2015, more than 91 transwomen have been murdered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa according to the Trans-Action Alliance. Moreover, the official data indicates over 2,000 cases of violence against the community in the province.
The conflict rose again last week with the film ‘Joyland’ based on the life of a transperson in Pakistan. After initially granting permission for commercial release, the federal government banned the film after backlash from religious political parties and others including fashion designer Maria B. Later the back was reversed after public outcry from civil society organizations, actors, and actresses as well as human rights activists.
However, refusing to follow the federal government’s decision on the film, the Punjab government upheld its own ban on the Cannes-winning feature film.
Protesters in the moorat march condemned the discrimination against them and voiced their concerns about being marginalized by the state.
Participants said the march aims to end bigotry and to ensure equality for all citizens regardless of gender and religion. They also vowed to protect the transgender law in its present form as it guarantees their basic rights.