Transgender Candidate to Run for Office in Pakistan

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Sanam Fakir

Two years after transgender people were given the right to vote in Pakistan, the first trans candidate will make a run for office in the Muslim country.

Sanam Fakir, a 32-year-old activist, will run the gain a seat in the Sindh provincial assembly, Agence France-Presse reports.

“It is not our destiny to merely dance for others and hold begging bowls. We have a life to live,” Fakir, who runs a charity, told AFP by telephone from the town of Sukkur.

Transgender individuals in Pakistan fall under the broader term “eunuch” which is used to refer to hermaphrodites, transsexuals, transvestites and homosexuals in addition to castrated men.

In 2011, eunuchs became eligible to seek office after a Supreme Court decision, which also allowed them to register to vote.

The AFP writes that eunuchs are usually hired to dance at parties, and “are treated as sex objects and often become the victims of assault, ending up as beggars and prostitutes.”

While Fakir’s chances to win may be slim due to Pakistan’s patronage-based political system, she believes some people will want to support someone who does not belong to the rich class.

“We are not corrupt. We have no need to be corrupt. We have no families and our own needs are limited. We are contented people,” Fakir said.

The elections are due by mid-May.