A 23-year-old trans woman earned her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) to become Pakistan’s first transgender doctor.
“I wanted to make Pakistan famous and my parents have also accepted me after I became a doctor,” Sara Gill, who graduated from Karachi University on Tuesday, said. “I want to tell the transgender community to not lose hope. If I can become a doctor then anyone of you can work hard and be successful.”
Sara recounted that her classmates always knew about her gender transition, though she had never made a formal declaration.
In addition to her medical career, Sara runs an NGO called Gender Interactive Alliance.
“I am not ashamed of my sexuality and the best inspiration is that my community needs me,” she said.
The doctor had a message for parents of transgender children: “Stop throwing your children out of the houses because of the pressure of society. It’s just the start, things will get better in future, Inshallah,” she said.
The transgender community in Pakistan has historically faced stigma, poverty and marginalization, despite various laws which have been passed for the community’s protection.
In 2018, parliament enacted the progressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, which legally ensures equal protection to transgender citizens and safeguards their rights. The law allows people to choose their gender identity on official documents and prohibits discrimination in schools, at work, on public transportation, or in hospitals.