Savera is HIV- positive.She’s also one of the thousands of transgender people in Pakistan who were routinely shunned by their families and thrown out of their houses at an early age.My mother is the only one who loves me. No one else likes me because I’m a transgender woman.All my relatives and neighbors make fun of me, even my own siblings make fun of me.
Rejected by their loved ones, they usually turn to a group. An older transgender person who provides shelter and training on how to make a living.As social outcasts in a conservative society, they do not have many options for employment.Most of them dress up and dance for men at parties, work as sex workers or beg. Ashi Butt had seen once too many transgender women left to die on the streets,so she decided to build a home for old or sick transgender people, even that received resistance from the community.
I wanted to build it in the city but people came to me and said you will keep sick transgender women here.They will have AIDS or hepatitis C, our children will get sick and old transgender women will roam around in our neighborhood.She was forced to move her project to an area outside the city.Here she provides not just accommodation but food to people like Mehak who has polio.I can’t roam around and beg too much because I get tired.Here even if I cannot go and beg every day, I don’t have to worry about how we eat or pay my rent.The first of its kind shelter home for transgender people in Pakistan can only accommodate up to 40 people.Pakistan has more than 10,000 transgender people,
but once the government to take more interest in the welfare of neglected community in desperate need of support.Meanwhile Savera is grateful for the reprieve since she spends all her resources trying to pay her medical bills.
Ayesha Tanzeem VOA news Lahore