A Pakistani news channel has made history by appointing the country’s first transgender TV newsreader.
Journalist and model Marvia Malik, 21, made her debut on the Lahore-based Kohenoor news channel said she was “moved to tears” when she was offered the job.
Pakistan’s social networks went off the radar following Marvia Malik’s first on-air appearance. Many hailed the move as progress for transgender rights in Pakistan, a country in which violence and discrimination against members of the LGBT community are widespread.
Malik, whose own family have disowned her, told CNN she is “pleased with the attention” that her appointment has generated, but said “more needs to be done when it comes to improving the lives of Pakistan’s transgender community”.
“I want to show the country that we are more than objects of ridicule, that we are also human,” she said. “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.”
According to Pakistan’s most recent census in 2017, which recorded the country’s transgender population for the first time, fewer than 10,000 people identify as transgender in a country of almost 200 million.