Minority of a minority: ‘Most painful thing was my mother beating me’

ISLAMABAD: Being a transgender in Pakistan is not easy. To be a transgender from a minority faith makes life even harder.

Nadia Malik, a transgender in the capital, found this out the hard way. From being beaten up by her own family for her sexual orientation to being shunned by fellow people who are transgender for her faith.

“The thing which is the most painful and disturbing for me is that I was beaten up by my own mother just because I was a transgender,” Malik said, asserting that she was born as a transgender person.

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“By birth, I was a transgender and no one could blame me for this,” she said.

Speaking to The Express Tribune on the sidelines of an event in the capital recently, Malik said that she was born in a Christian household in Lahore and was raised a Christian.

She recalled how early in her childhood she used to be thrashed by her mother and siblings who considered her to be a ‘curse’ or as one who had brought ‘shame’ to the family.

“They [parents and siblings] used to lock me in a room for days without providing any food or water,” Malik cried.

“I accepted that since my mother had given birth to me, she had a right on me and could beat me,” she explained, adding that things changed one day when the abuse started coming from an ‘outsider’.

“The day I was beaten up by my paternal uncle, I ran away from my home and came to Islamabad,” Malik disclosed, adding that she was just 10-years-old at the time.

She explained that she hoped to find more members of her community there with the hope that with them, she may find comfort and a sense of belonging.

Little did she know that her journey of finding comfort was not over yet and there were a few more harsh lessons still in store for her.

“They [other people who are transgender] used to avoid having food with me and used to pass racist comments,” she said, pointing to how she was discriminated by others for her faith.

But Malik said she had no other option but to live with them.

“I had no shelter or any means to make a living,” she said, the pain of discrimination burning in her dry eyes.

“I used to go with my [people who are transgender] colleagues to dance at different functions and earn a livelihood,” she explained.

But like the beatings, a day came when Malik could no longer bear the hate and discrimination.

She decided to convert to Islam, abandoning her Christian name Daisy and adopt the Muslim name of Nadia.

“I had spent my childhood amongst Muslims and loved this religion, therefore I decided to convert to Islam and I did it,” Malik said, explaining her motives.

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After adopting Islam, Malik says her life has completely changed. One of the biggest differences, she admitted, was that she no longer has to face discriminatory attitude from members of her community or people in general.

However, being illiterate, Malik says it is hard to find a decent job. As a result, she says she has to continue dancing to make ends meet and to pay rent on a separate small house.

“Now, my only and biggest wish is to perform Hajj or Umrah and seek forgiveness for my sins and bad deeds. After that I will devote my life in preaching Islam,” said Malik.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2018.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1759828/1-minority-minority-painful-thing-mother-beating/