I’ve often wondered why the honor of our men is so fragile that it is threatened at the drop of a hat. Be it a hat sitting atop a woman’s head or a cultural norm that’s about as comfortable as a pebble in one’s shoe.

We had barely recovered from the massive earthquake caused by the unveiled, bold, outspoken women – the likes of which, by the way, our national poet is said to have fancied too (no disrespect intended, just saying) – to receive dastardly news of our very acclaimed National College of Arts hiring intersex individuals as staff, giving them a safe and respectable environment to work and earn a decent living.

Oh, the audacity! This is a sure shot recipe for a hurricane now, isn’t it? Or, perhaps, the Hindu Kush should come crashing down this time.

Much to the dismay of our many ba-haya men equipped with internet, all hell broke loose when the news was picked up by an international channel NowThis, which, as its Facebook page defines, is “a brand new video network built from scratch for people who get their news on mobile devices and through social streams.” As it happened, NT made the horrid news into a short video clip and ran it all over social media. Obviously all to dishonor Pakistan because like…now, the whole world knows what NCA has done! Oh, the shame!

The glory with which most of our men rushed to save the honor of the country by denouncing, in absolute terms, the countrymen who took this step, and to cuss at all those in favor of the countrymen who took this step, was epic. A few here and there did call out for useless sentiments such as tolerance and rationality and such but mostly, those calls fell on deaf ears. Rude comments were in order.

[Warning: The screenshot below contains explicit language]

Right. It amazes me to see so much hate for something that God, the same who is also God of Quran and the same who is God of the one who left us his Sunnah, has made.

To clarify, most transgender people in Pakistan, such as the ones hired by National College of Arts and the ones that we shun socially as some plague, are hermaphrodites. These are people who have a genetic disorder by virtue of having both male and female sex organs and other sexual characteristics, either abnormally or (in the case of some organisms) as the natural condition. The manifestation of which usually comes about at puberty.

In plain words, they are born that way.

So, to all those hailing God in one breath and then hating and demonizing His creation in the next, did you train to be this ignorant or were you born that way?

Aside from that, I am stunned by your hypocrisy. How is it okay, and part of your culture, to invite these ‘hijras’ to dance and sing at your weddings and other festivities for your pleasure, to be seen and treated as sex objects or as beggars on a street, but if a respectable institute initiates an environment to offer them honor and honorable means of livelihood and living, it becomes a threat to your culture/religion/society? What sort of two-faced cultural norms do you want to protect and project anyway?

Aren’t all human beings entitled to a fair chance at a decent life, and shouldn’t we help it if we can?

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has pitched in to raise awareness regarding the oppression and humiliation this particular community of Pakistan faces at the hands of their fellow countrymen.

In 2012, the SC ruled that the transgender community was allowed for the first time to register to vote by identifying themselves as a third sex. Furthermore, the court’s general orders to the government were that transgender persons must be treated as other citizens are. However, for the purpose of affirmative action, they will be given preference for civil service jobs if qualified. To explain, a transgender applicant with a matriculation will be considered to have the same qualifications for government work as a non-transgender person with a bachelor’s degree.

These are, indeed, good steps to start with but it will surely be all for nothing if the people didn’t cooperate. For a society to flourish, the social elements, all of them, need to work in harmony. It is time to let every Pakistani pitch in to make Pakistan greater than what we have always dreamed for it to be. And bigotry isn’t the way to go forward.

Every single citizen deserves respect and equal rights. Every citizen!