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Towards normalcy: In the sanctuary of a madrassa

in PAKISTAN, 17/09/2013

“I want to study at a school, but my father enrolled me in madrassa,” Waris who studies at a seminary in G-8 sector of the capital city, told The Express Tribune. Right after his sixth grade exams, his father Nadeem Kashish enrolled him in the seminary to shelter him from the bitter truth about his father’s gender identity.

Once he was a sex worker. But the day he became a father, everything changed for Nadeem. “Waris changed my life. After his birth, I changed my lifestyle. Now, educating my only child has become my biggest aim and dream. I want to keep my son away from my community members. For that, my only option was to enroll him in a boarding madrassa,” he said.

“My father has promised to let me resume my studies after two years,” says a hopeful Waris. But there are days Nadeem is unsure if this dream will be realized. In a society that tends to marginalize the “unusual”, life is a confusing battle for Nadeem and his family. People look at him quizzically, wondering how he even has a son. Nadeem chooses not to answer everybody’s questions.

A normal life for transgenders

“We convince our colleagues that they can spend a normal life. We also approach parents of children with gender ambiguity to make them understand that this is a natural phenomenon the child cannot help. We request religious scholars to use the platform of mosques to create awareness among people about such children, because being born as a transgender is no fault of the child,” says Nadeem, clearly an activist.

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