Sitara: Daastan’s Live Session for Transgender Awareness
Daastan is always up for positively reshaping our society in terms of open-mindedness and acceptance. Every living being deserves to be treated with grace and respect. There is enough hate in this world, so why not try and spread something positive for the greater good this time? Keeping this viewpoint, Daastan hosted a live session on transgender awareness with Ali Sheikh author of ‘Thousands of Desires’ and Saro Imran, a transgender activist.
Transgender Character Sitara – Star of the Book?
Samin asked Ali what inspired him to write the character ‘Sitara’ in his book? Ali explained how all his life he had witnessed mistreatment and abuse of the trans people. In his book, Sitara is a transgender woman. She creates a safehouse for others like her.
Samin asked Ali what role the entertainment industry plays in the portrayal of trans people in society. He replied that in today’s world, exposure to all kinds of media is up to several hours a day. He also emphasized how one needs to be able to connect to a character in a book or on TV to be able to understand what they are going through. This is important for trans characters too, in order to be understood they need to be included in the plot in an important way.
Ali states that change needs to be brought in our society at a grassroot level. Common problems such as ageism and hate need to be swapped with acceptance and mindfulness. Again this needs to happen collectively at national level for a sustainable change.
Saro: A Ray of Hope for Transgenders
Our special guest for the Live was Saro Imran. Saro is the founder of Activist Alliance foundation in Multan. Her work is devoted to bringing positive change for transgenders in Pakistan. Saro was awarded ‘Blogger of the month’ in 2019.
Samin inquired Saro’s views on the general behaviour towards trans people in Pakistan. According to Saro, in bigger cities like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi the general attitude is better. Trans people can come to the forefronts more easily and run organizations like hers. In smaller cities however, attitudes still need a lot of change. Samin also asked what role social media plays in bringing about a change in such behaviours. Saro explained that social media plays a positive role. Transgender people are active on social platforms more than ever these days. Sensitisation through such platforms is possible and crucial.
This is true for the entertainment industry as well. According to Saro, trans people should be given main roles in order to shed importance on their existence. Trans people shouldn’t be recognised solely for their gender, but also for their views on other important topics as well.
Message to society:
As the session was wrapped up, Ali and Saro gave their individual message to viewers. Ali asked the people of Pakistan to change their viewpoint to a positive one and to accept Transgender people as important and equal members of the society.
Saro requested that trans people be treated as equals and be given their due rights as humans. Our host Samin, stated that identity shouldn’t be limited to a person’s gender, but to what they have to offer to society and the roles they play as individuals.