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Open Secret

A private screening of Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s latest documentary on Pakistan’s transgender community was held in Delhi recently. Obaid-Chinoy’s new film deals with the transgender community of Pakistan, who manage a living through dancing, singing and begging on the streets of Karachi.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

8th September 2012 06:20

Alessia Valenza

The documentary revolves around three transgender women: Sana, Karachi’s most sought-after transgender dancer who wants to give up the profession after a gruesome gang rape; Chahat, who was abandoned by her middle-class family for her feminine ways; and Maggi. Obaid-Chinoy spent four months with her subjects, during which she entered their comfort zones and surveyed every aspect of their lives, learning about their past, their struggles and how their sexuality has made them feel at different stages of their lives. “We witnessed the dangers that come with their professions and the mistreatment that comes with their social status,” she says.

The 53-minute film will release in Pakistan later this year while the Indian release date is still under discussion. “I am confident that the film will impact Indians and Pakistanis in the same way. I hope that it prompts a dialogue about the existing perception of transgender individuals,” she says. The story then continues with their struggles to create job opportunities with the Pakistani government. “During the filming of this documentary, the government recognised that transgenders are very effective tax collectors,” says Obaid-Chinoy.

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