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GU to give 100pc scholarships to transgender persons

KARACHI: International Transgenders Day was observed by Greenwich University. Seen in the picture are Chief Guest Reema Ismail, wife of Governor Sindh, VC Greenwich University Seema Moghul, Sarim Burney and Registrar Greenwich University Saeed Moghul.

Commemorating the International Transgenders Day, Greenwich University signs MoU with GIA;
Bindiya Rana lauds Greenwich University’s step to support transgender persons’ right to education

Iqbal Jamil

KARACHI: Commemorating the Trans Day of Remembrance, Greenwich University, on Saturday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gender Interactive Alliance, for the promotion of transgender persons’ education through the provision of fully-funded scholarships by the University.
This measure makes Greenwich University a pioneer among other Pakistani universities, to offer free of charge undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education to transgender persons. To mark this feat and celebrate trans rights, an event was held at the University on the day.
The event was organised to put forth a request to all government and bureaucratic stakeholders as well as civil society and the business community to cultivate dignified employment opportunities for transgender persons. Efforts made thus far by various stakeholders to secure trans rights in Pakistan were also showcased on the occasion.
The ceremony kicked off with a welcome address, which was followed by the profile of renowned trans rights activist, forebearer of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights Act 2018), Bindiya Rana.
Bindiya, who is also the Chairperson of the GIA, lauded Greenwich University’s step to support transgender persons’ right to education and dignified livelihood. She underscored that transgender persons are considered taboo in Pakistani society to this day. This exclusion of trans people from the social, political and economic fabric of the country, exposes them to physical and psychological abuse besides depriving them of economic means for survival, said Bindiya.
The dearth of educational opportunities further exacerbates the situation against trans persons, she said. Although Pakistan is taking steps to promote transgender rights, and headways have been made in this regard, a lot still needs to be done to uplift the transgender community to make equal opportunities available to them, noted Bindiya. Greenwich University’s measure to promote transgender persons’ education is a huge step in the right direction, she said.
Sara Gill, Pakistan’s first transgender doctor also attended the ceremony and spoke of struggles she faced in her academic and professional career. “The identity-based discrimination of transgender persons is keeping Pakistan from progressing both as a society and as an economy. We need to rid ourselves of gender-based biases and cultivate opportunities for talent acquisition,” she noted.
Addressing the ceremony, Ali Jillani, Head Diplomatic Affairs, Greenwich University, said that the inclusion of transgender persons in educational institutions and will undoubtedly transform and counter societal misconceptions of the community. Across the globe, the struggle for trans rights has remained magnificent in gaining liberty from the predominant social constructs, he added. Transgender persons are welcome aboard at workplaces and educational opportunities are offered to them. It is an honor for us to have a vibrant trans rights community in Pakistan. We feel proud of utilizing our platform for the promotion of trans rights, he concluded.
During the ceremony members of the GIA also performed an interactive theatre on trans rights. Moreover, the outstanding documentary film, ‘Main Insan Hoon’ (I am a human!/ too), advocating trans rights to education and employment, produced by Greenwich University’s media students was shown. The brilliantly made documentary highlights the exclusion of transgender persons and shows that such exclusion renders trans people inhuman and unworthy of a dignified life.
Appreciating the efforts of Greenwich University and GIA, Chief Guest of the event, Ms. Reema Ismail, wife of Governor Sindh, said that “the government is seriously pondering over changing the social fabric of society. This includes the inclusion of transgender persons and acknowledgment of trans rights. Change is around the corner. However, the gradual change, the more sustainable it will be. I am delighted to come across the enthusiasm with which we, as a society, are moving forward”.
Addressing the gathering President of Karachi Editors Club, Mubashir Mir said that transgenders should be equally treated as the other communities are treated. He further said that our club and media is always in forefront and have always highlighted the issues of this neglected segment of society.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor of Greenwich University, Seems Mughal, said that “I see Greenwich’s vision of social transformation through education materializing today, as we open our doors to the trans community”. She vowed to continue support from the transgender community at the University. “I assure everyone that Greenwich will contribute its due share to Pakistan as a society and economy. The Greenwich family will always ensure its efforts towards the progression of society, our foundation, being education.”
The event concluded with the distribution of certificates and awards and was followed by the MoU signing ceremony.