Although, it is said that, the rights of transgenders have been secured by many national and international organizations. But still, it is not visible in the laws and practices of our society. Certain policies that are targeting the trans people including limited access to justice, intricate procedures to change their identification, etc. are creating a divide in the community.
Trans people’s experience with extreme social isolation and banishment globally results in their increased vulnerability to mental health issues and other diseases. There is an urgent need that we as a nation recognize the rights of transgender people. Because they deserve to live and enjoy as any other living being.
An achieved reality or a distant dream? Darkly revealed by Dr. Nazam Matloob
In order to let you guys know about what trans people usually go through and to spread awareness about their rights, fortunately, I got the chance to interview one of the rising talents of our country Dr. Nazam Matloob aka “The diary of Panda” on Instagram. He is one of the rare gems of the trans community who proved that if you are determined to achieve something, no one can stop you.
He is a dentist by profession and very much passionate about filmmaking. Whereas, like every other person, he has several dreams, to become the biggest philanthropist of the century, to conduct research on the growth of oral and dental tissues, and lastly, to make a beautiful film. We got to know all of this after a tad bit of stalking. Lol!!
During this interview, he highlighted his past experiences as well as his journey to becoming a doctor. He also calls our attention to the policies made by our government concerning transgender rights and how these approaches are not being implemented.
When I asked him that would he like to be a part of our campaign regarding Transgender Rights and share his life stories with us, he said that he would love to. And that’s how our conversation starts,
When did you get to know that you are a transgender and how difficult it was for you to accept this? Having the conditions of Pakistan in your mind, it must have been difficult.
I always felt like something was wrong. At the age of three, my mother tells me that I used to refuse to wear feminine clothing and play with cars instead of dolls. In my teenage, some people tried to make me believe that I am mentally ill, but later, in university, I found out that I am a trans male when read about it in one of my 2nd year’s courses. It was hard for me to accept that I am not a normal person, according to our society. But a teacher of mine helped me that I am normal just like everyone else and only the mismatch of gender and biological sex doesn’t make me abnormal. This variation has always existed. I was bullied throughout my school and college life, for being different. But that helped me to become the person that I am today.
Do you have siblings? If yes, then how are your relationship with them and your parents? And how difficult it was for your parents to accept this, I have seen beautiful pictures of your mother with you. MashaAllah, how did they react, and how you handled them?
I have three sisters and two brothers. When I first came out they weren’t able to accept my identity, but later when they studied it in their books (two of my sisters are doctors), and when I started educating my younger siblings about it, they showed me complete support and started respecting my pronouns. My father passed away when I was a kid and it was in his will to let me be the way I am. My mother is supportive, but reluctant to support me in my medical transition because Pakistani people have told her things like, your kid will die during this treatment. She also respects my pronouns and my way of life, but getting approval on medical transition is something that I’m still working on because she is concerned about my health.
You are a doctor, MashaAllah, so I want to ask that what inspired you in choosing this profession?
Initially, my mother forced me to get admission in it, but later, I started to develop an interest in my profession. I liked it when I was referred to as a doctor, and not miss or mister. It reduced the chances of getting misgendered. I also wanted to become the first trans-male doctor in Pakistan.
What type of discrimination you have faced so far and how it has affected you in moving forward either positively or negatively?
I have faced almost all kinds of discrimination. I can’t go for Hajj or any other religious places without being forced to dress and act like a woman. I am forced to stand in the line of females at airports and other public places because my identity card mentions my biological sex only. The problem is not standing with women; the problem is people mocking me for who I am. I cannot play in a men’s sports team, I was forced to play with girls.
What do you think you’d not have undergone if you were not a transgender?
I wouldn’t have gone through extreme bullying and social isolation if I wasn’t a transgender. I would have been free to pick a life partner for myself.
What role according to you we as a society should play for the betterment of the young trans-generation?
We can start educating the ones who are not aware of transgender rights and treat trans individuals like any other normal individual with basic rights. It should also be added in textbooks.
Are there any measures that the government of Pakistan has taken, in this respect, so far?
The government has passed a bill in 2018, but it hasn’t been implemented yet. It gives us the right to get our identified gender written on our ID cards. Unfortunately, NADRA staff harasses trans individuals if they ask to get their identified gender written on ID cards.
Are there any plans of you in doing some work for trans-society? Did any other transgender approach you for help, suggestion, or something?
I plan to do my master’s in the UK if I clear my test and transition there. Once, I am done with that I want to come back and create awareness. I also wanted to develop an NGO for trans individuals to help them with their education, shelter, psychological assistance, and hormonal therapy. A lot of transgenders reached me and I guided them on how to get their families to understand all this.
Do you want to live like a trans-man or would you like to change it?
No, I am proud of my true identity and I want to live as a trans man. I never want to hide the fact that I am trans.
Dr. Nazam, thank you so much for speaking with us. It was great to talk to you. Thank you so much.