Sobo Malik Transgender Chartered Accountant shares her journey
The transgender community is as equal and important as the other communities of the world, but unfortunately, this community undergoes a lot of discrimination from workplaces, schools, and even family members. Transgender individuals are challenged by society in many different ways with misconduct, discrimination, and abuse.
In Pakistan, transgender individuals are also known as “Khawajasiras,” which is an umbrella term that denotes third sex including eunuchs and transvestites. Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to recognize the third sex legally in 2009.
Recently, we interviewed Sobo Malik who is a Chartered Accountant and also serves the famous Khawaja Sira Society (KSS). The KSS is an NGO that is working day and night diligently in order to end discrimination against transgender individuals. The kind and honorable Sobo Malik answered a few of our questions and told us about her personal life and educational career. Sobo Malik narrated some events of her life telling that she always felt different; her parents treated her as a boy because at the time of birth she was assigned the gender of a male but whenever she saw herself in the mirror, the image never matched her personality that was in her mind. She faced personality clashes between her inner and outer personalities that created a conflict in her peace of mind. Further, in her teens when she met other transgenders and explored with them the personality differences she came to know that, “It was very difficult for the kids or teenagers to recognize themselves with an identity that is not considered respectable in the society.”
The thing that seems fortunate to Sobo is that she had educated trans friends; therefore, everyone was supportive of each other. While talking about the rights of transgenders in society, Sobo expresses that the major thing which is lacking in society is Social Acceptance. This has also created a feeling of fear in the trans community as well because trans people are afraid to interact with the public thinking that the public will make fun of them or treat them badly. This has also created a huge gap between society and the trans community.
Another important point raised by Sobo Malik is that proper education about the third gender is not given to people. Sobo says “Even in the syllabus there is no information about the third gender. Not even parents educate their kids about this at home.”
We asked Sobo about the changes that she has felt now as she has a designation and is working on a well-reputed post to which she replied that the transformation of media and success stories related to the trans community have given confidence to the transgender individuals. Moreover, the Trans Right Act passed in the year 2018 by the Parliament has changed the mindset of people to a large extent. Finally, upon asking about ways to fill the gaps that are still present between the society and the trans community, Sobo suggested “There is a need for interaction between the society and the Trans community so that the myths and the misunderstandings can be demolished. Rather than making separate schools or workplaces, there is a need to include these individuals within the society and accept them wholeheartedly.
The Khawaja Sira Society (KSS) is a trans-led and trans based society that provides health, educational, and career opportunities to the third gender individuals. It also provides them with advocacy and legal services. Society began its services in the year 2012 and until now it has registered more than 40,000 transgender individuals. The name of this society itself reflects that the term is respectable and this is the way the individuals should be referred to.