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With MPhil, a transgender dreams of career
« on: December 10, 2020, 02:24:56 PM »
With MPhil, a transgender dreams of career
MARDAN:10 December:People who are transgender have in recent years received recognition, not only for who they are but also the fact that they may harbour similar dreams like the rest of us. The official sanctions, however, have only gotten them so far. Survival has forced them to stick to their traditional profession of dancing or worse, the flesh trade, which seems to have condemned their entire community to third rate citizenry.

Poor education levels amongst community members is a major reason why many people who are transgender have not been able to break the cycle, but could soon change.

In the heart of Peshawar lives ‘Chocolate’, a transgender who refuses to reveal her birth name.

“I cannot reveal my real name because it will just multiply my problems but people know me as Chocolate, which is my professional name,” she said.

What is unique about Chocolate is that unlike her peers, she will soon hold a Masters in Philosophy (MPhil) degree.

“My story is not different from any other person who is transgender,” Chocolate says, adding, “I too have faced humiliation, harassment, even opposition from my family, but I can say I have worked hard to complete my education,” the Peshawar-based transgender said.

She said that first, she got admission in the sociology department at the University of Peshawar. However, that did not work out for her because the classes were in the morning and could never get up in time as she had to dance late into the night to make a living and support her education.

“Evening time was suitable for me and I got admission in the evening shift at this private university and completed my degree,” she explained.

“I completed my Bachelors of Arts degree from Islamia College in economics and sociology and then I took admission in Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the Preston University,” she informed.

Unlike other varsities, the MBA programme is offered at this university lasts three-years, which they claim is equivalent to an MPhil degree.

Chocolate says she missed the exam for one subject in the last semester and then exams for the recently concluded semester were delayed due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

On July 7, the university arranged an exam and Chocolate sat for her final paper.

While she waits for the results, Chocolate is setting her sights on a career in either the provincial or the federal bureaucracy.

“I want to work in the civil services because any ordinary job will not get me any respect in society and people will still harass and disrespect me,” she said.

“I lost my job at a laptop shop because the owner told me my presence is impacting his business as customers have complained about how I look and talk,” she resented.

Talking about the discrimination she has faced, the 25-year-old dancer said people who are transgender in the country are not accepted by society as equal citizens. But the law, she said, grants them the right to get a job and even inherit property.Published in The Express Tribune,
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