Naheed Jahangir

PESHAWAR: Farzana Riaz, who is a guru (leader) of transgender persons in Peshawar and working for their rights since 2009, says her family members used to hide her whenever guests came to their house.

Farzana said while talking to TNN that no doubt guests are a blessing of Almighty Allah, but for her during her childhood, they were not less than a nuisance.

Farzana was born in her maternal grandmother’s home in Charsadda and she was named Riaz by her parents, but after passage of time some changes were witnessed in her body, which were considered a cause of shame by her parents.

Usually the children still sleep with their parents at the age of eight, but this was not the case with Farzana who left her house and went to dera (place for transgender persons) at such young age.

“Being a transgender person is not a sin as it is not in someone’s hand. I am still thankful to God that I am born as a human with stable health,” Farzana said.

She said she used to get punished at school no matter it was her fault or not. She said everyone at school used to ask one question – are you a boy or a girl? Oh! You are a transgender.

Hearing the same taunts from her street to school, Riaz soon became Farzana and started dancing at wedding and other functions.

In her journey from eight-year-old Riaz to Farzana, her parents have never bothered to inquire about her wellbeing. She said she received a sad new one day that her mother has left this mortal world, but the right to see her mother just one last time was snatched from her.

Farzana went to the graveyard while wearing a burqa (veil) in a hope to see her mother’s grave, but there was no one to help her. He cried profusely at the graveyard, but there was no one to hear her screams except the Almighty.

She said a transgender person can be born in any home, and it should be accepted as will of God. She said no one loves transgender persons. She said she had four sisters, parents never inquired about her wellbeing, however, sisters occasionally contacted her, but two of them have died now. She said she lived as a transgender person and will die in similar condition, but it is unlikely that people will ever forgive her for something which was never in her control.

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