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This photograph taken on April 5, 2013 shows transgender Sanam Faqeer, an independent candidate for Pakistan's forthcoming general elections, offering prayers at her residence in the southern city of Sukkur. PHOTO: AFP/FILE
The 'invisible democrats' of Pakistan

in PAKISTAN, 31/08/2013

“Our problem is that no one listens to us. That is our only problem.” These are the words of just one of Pakistan’s ‘invisible democrats’ — the transgender community that has remained largely unrepresented, exploited, ignored and looked down upon in society.

Stereotyped as dancers, beggars and prostitutes, the vibrant but shunned transgender community recently struck out into politics, contesting the May 2013 elections for the first time as a distinct community. Despite such progress, the reality of their situation remains dismal.

Transgenders lament that due to a lack of wealth and political connections, their ability to stand in the elections as independent candidates is next to futile.

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