Story

Pakistan: Trans Activism in Action

dsc00354.jpg

Two protesters, Sara and Sunny, holding signs in solidarity with the khawaja sira community.  Signs right to left read: "Let us live, too" and  "Government members, stop discriminating against khawaja siras." Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

Two protesters, Sara and Sunny, holding signs in solidarity with the khawaja sira community. Signs right to left read: "Let us live, too" and "Government members, stop discriminating against khawaja siras." Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00371.jpg

A group of protesters stand with signs on the sidewalk of a busy street. It is near evening in early August. The blue sign reads, "Stop the violence against khawaja siras." (The other two signs are the same from the previous picture). Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

A group of protesters stand with signs on the sidewalk of a busy street. It is near evening in early August. The blue sign reads, "Stop the violence against khawaja siras." (The other two signs are the same from the previous picture). Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00372.jpg

Local Pakistani media show up on the scene as protesters begin to attract the attention of drivers passing by on the crowded street. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

Local Pakistani media show up on the scene as protesters begin to attract the attention of drivers passing by on the crowded street. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00384.jpg

The signs were written in a mix between English and Urdu, both official languages of Pakistan. This was likely done sensibly to reach a larger audience of passersby who were literate in at least one of the two languages. The purple sign reads, "We are humans, too." Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

The signs were written in a mix between English and Urdu, both official languages of Pakistan. This was likely done sensibly to reach a larger audience of passersby who were literate in at least one of the two languages. The purple sign reads, "We are humans, too." Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00394.jpg

The protest took place in front of the Lahore Press Club. After a sizable amount of protesters had gathered, they decided to move from the sidewalk to the middle of the traffic-packed road. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

The protest took place in front of the Lahore Press Club. After a sizable amount of protesters had gathered, they decided to move from the sidewalk to the middle of the traffic-packed road. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00405.jpg

The protesters successfully blockade the busy street. The flow of traffic is inevitably and intentionally disrupted. Upset by the traffic jam, some drivers begin to honk their horns loudly. Others are curious to read the signs. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

The protesters successfully blockade the busy street. The flow of traffic is inevitably and intentionally disrupted. Upset by the traffic jam, some drivers begin to honk their horns loudly. Others are curious to read the signs. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00413.jpg

Two motorcyclists dangerously cut through the middle of the protesters, pushing them back to the sidewalk for safety. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

Two motorcyclists dangerously cut through the middle of the protesters, pushing them back to the sidewalk for safety. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00422.jpg

Regardless, the crowd of people holding signs continues to turn heads. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

Regardless, the crowd of people holding signs continues to turn heads. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00427.jpg

Ashi Jaan, age 45, takes a break from the protest to sit and smoke a cigarette while chatting with the rickshaw driver. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

Ashi Jaan, age 45, takes a break from the protest to sit and smoke a cigarette while chatting with the rickshaw driver. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00435.jpg

Police show up on the scene shortly after the traffic blockade. About an hour has passes. Local police chief Abdul Khaliq (next to the man in white) says that protesting peacefully is a legal right and he has arrived to ensure that. He thinks khawaja siras also deserve equal treatment. The purple sign reads, "Don't commit physical abuse." Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

Police show up on the scene shortly after the traffic blockade. About an hour has passes. Local police chief Abdul Khaliq (next to the man in white) says that protesting peacefully is a legal right and he has arrived to ensure that. He thinks khawaja siras also deserve equal treatment. The purple sign reads, "Don't commit physical abuse." Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00439.jpg

The police chat with some protesters. Dusk falls over the city of Lahore as the protest nears its end. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

The police chat with some protesters. Dusk falls over the city of Lahore as the protest nears its end. Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

dsc00441.jpg

This protest in Lahore was one of many that took place in cities across Pakistan on August 2 against the gang rape of two khawaja siras. The orange sign reads, "Stop the torture and violence against khawaja siras." (The other signs are translated in previous photos). Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

This protest in Lahore was one of many that took place in cities across Pakistan on August 2 against the gang rape of two khawaja siras. The orange sign reads, "Stop the torture and violence against khawaja siras." (The other signs are translated in previous photos). Image by Ikra Javed. Pakistan, 2016.

Controversial legislation like House Bill 2 and a questionable administration about to take office have raised concerns for the LGBT equality movement. Protests are no thing of the past within the United States, nor are they halfway across the world in Pakistan. On August 2, 2016, protests calling for transgender equality and an end to the injustice against khawaja siras took place in major cities across Pakistan. The protests came after the brutal rape of two khawaja siras in Peshawar that went unnoticed. As some protesters shared, two khawaja siras were torturously urinated on, forced to have their heads shaved, and gang-raped. These images are all from the protest in Lahore, Pakistan.