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Meet Marvia Malik: Pakistan’s first transgender TV journalist

Marvia Malik is a news presenter on the Lahore-based Kohenoor TV. Source: Supplied

The news presenter says life is tough and her struggle hasn’t been any different from others like her.

Television audiences in Pakistan have often seen Marvia Malik read the bulletin on their screens. While she may seem all glamorous and important today, the journey from her humble beginnings to the TV studio has been full of struggle. She works as a news presenter with Kohenoor TV in Lahore.

Transgenders are often mocked as “khusra” or “hijra” in Pakistan and India. If there is one politically correct alternative for them, it is “Khwaja sara,” which stems from the Persian word, ‘Khwaja’ meaning officer as members of this community were often part of the inner circle of royal palaces in the Mughal Empire.

SBS Punjabi caught up with Marvia in Lahore for an interview in which she narrates the story of her life. She minces no words in saying that people have been uncharitable towards her simply because of her gender and her talent was often put on the backburner. But on the back of her sheer grit and determination to break the glass ceiling that inhibits the growth of transgenders in South Asian society, Marvia advises everyone like her to never give up. She also makes a very strong point: that is the male and female gender are not known as the “first” and “second” gender, then how come transgenders have come to be known as members of the “third” gender? Food for thought?

 

To listen to this interview in Punjabi, click on the player at the top of this page.

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