It’s been a harrowing year for transgender people in Pakistan.
In May, a 23-year-old trans woman, Alisha, was gunned down in Islamabad, humiliated at the hospital where she sought treatment, and was subsequently denied treatment, which ultimately led to her death.
Last week, police in Sialkot arrested nine men who were caught on tape flogging and sexually assaulting a trans woman who they also had forced to drink their urine.
“Why don’t you shoot me? I don’t want to live anymore,” cried a shattered Shanaya, who was the woman in the crude video that went viral online, while speaking to The Nation.
This week, another case of gang rape and torture of a trans woman has surfaced in Lahore, the video, too making the rounds on the internet.
It is this crisis of violence that made activist and social worker Kami Sid emerge from the background of her tireless advocacy to take the front stage — and become Pakistan’s first trans model.
"I want to change the mindset of people in our society, so many don't grasp what gender and sexuality is. I want to sensitize people regarding all genders. My family doesn't support me in this endeavor but I feel people need to see us in the commercial fashion world, to create awareness. People know me as an activist but now, I can reach even more people as a model,” Sid told Dawn News.
This week she appeared in a powerful fashion photoshoot, styled by her friend, Karachi-based stylist Waqar J. Khan and photographed by Haseeb M. Siddiqi.
"When Waqar, who is also a friend of mine, approached me to do the shoot, I was totally on board but unsure about how it would do. I just feel it's a great platform and opportunity for me to not only explore my talents but also represent the transgender community with dignity in front of mainstream society," shared Sid.“The transgender community has remained backstage for too long, doing makeup or other errands. By now we should be able to come forward and let people know that we too are a force to be reckoned with."