The first ever transgender news anchor in Pakistan made her first on-air appearance last week, a monumental moment for the country and its LGBTQ people.
Marvia Malik first appeared on the Pakistani channel Kohenoor News Friday March 23rd, which made major waves on Pakistani social networks.
“I want to show the country that we are more than objects of ridicule … that we are also human,” Malik told CNN. The 21-year-old journalist graduated from Punjab University, having studied journalism and is currently a trainee anchor in Lahore.
She is grateful for the attention she’s received, but knows her work is not done. Malik insists more needs to be done in order to improve the lives of Pakistani transgender people. She hopes to prove that trans people “are capable of any job, and can do anything they want.”
Having realized she was transgender at an early age, the journalist was estranged by her family and has been financially independent since she was 15 years old. “I want the next generation of young transgender kids to look up to me as an inspiration that they can be accepted and that there can be opportunities for them,” she said.
Bilal Ashraf, the director of news at Kohenoor News and Malik’s boss, said he wasn’t aware that Marvia was transgender upon hiring her, but he aims to run a progressive news channel for Pakistan, claiming he wants to provide opportunities for “disabled, women and individuals from all sorts of background.”
CNN reports that Pakistan’s 2017 census recorded close to 10,000 people who identify as transgender, out of the country’s population of almost 200 million. Last year was the first year the country’s transgender population was ever recorded.
Recently, the country passed a groundbreaking bill to protect the rights of transgender people, which protected the community against discrimination and enabled citizens to change their gender on ID cards.
“We will not discriminate, everyone has dreams, everyone has goals and so much of that talent gets thrown into the dustbin, undiscovered, simply because of the biases in society,” Ashraf said.
Sounds like we could take some notes from Kohenoor News (cough cough, Donald Trump).