Transgender in Pakistan: Maya, the woman who almost broke free


She was from Nowshera, northern Pakistan, where society is conservative and tolerance for non-conformity runs thin. And Maya didn’t conform. She was transgender, born male but identifying and living as woman. She had escaped abuse at home three times, running far away each time. She’d found happiness and a new community, but then took the chance of moving closer to her family home in Peshawar. “I wish we had known better,” says her childhood friend Mehek Khan. Because Maya’s family tracked her down and within a month of her move, she was dead. Police suspect her brother and uncle killed her, but they have denied any involvement. Rights activists allege the police have left many loopholes in the case, meaning justice may never be reached for Maya, as for so many of Pakistan’s murdered transgender women.

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