Transgender Pakistanis run for office


Pakistani eunuch Sanam Fakir (C), 32, talks to his election campaign staff ahead of general elections in Sukkur, about 800 kilometres (500 miles) southwest of Islamabad, on February 25, 2013.


Shahid ALI

In a historic election, transgender people are running for office in Pakistan. The landmark comes as Pakistanis prepare to head to the polls in an election that is already historic. The election, scheduled for May 11, is  the first democratic transition of power in Pakistan in 65 years.

It is also the first time that Pakistan’s 500,000 “eunuchs” are eligible to run for office, after a 2011 Supreme Court ruling ordered the government to issue transgender people identity cards so that they could register as voters.

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In Pakistan, transgender people typically find work as performers at birth celebrations or weddings. Otherwise, work is scarce. Many transgender people can be seen begging for money on the street,  the Associated Press reported

“It is not our destiny to merely dance for others and hold begging bowls. We have a life to live,” Sanam Fakir, 32,  told Agence France Presse.

Transgender people have filled in different nominations all over the country,  BBC News reported. "People will ask whether we will win or lose in the elections, but I won when my nomination papers were submitted," Bindaya Rana, one of the candidates, told the BBC.