A trans comedian was heckled on stage in Lahore. It shouldn't be this way

A trans comedian was heckled on stage in Lahore. It shouldn't be this way

Anaya Sheikh, a trans woman, was insulted by Lahore-based vlogger, Sharik Shah during her routine.
Updated 20 Nov, 2019

Trans comedian Anaya Sheikh was heckled and harassed onstage with abusive slurs during her performance by Youtube prankster Sharik Shah at a comedy night held at a cafe in Johar Town on Sunday.

According to Anaya, she felt uncomfortable with Sharik coming too close to the stage during her performance, but invited him onstage anyway. Once he was up, Shahrik proceeded to shout abusive and transphobic remarks about Anaya's physical appearance and her espousal of feminism.

"I wore a top which said 'We Should All Be Feminists.' I started with jokes about women empowerment and then I replied to those jokes, which were based on trans people."

Anaya shared a photo of her outfit on the night of her performance at a cafe in Lahore.
Anaya shared a photo of her outfit on the night of her performance at a cafe in Lahore.

"Then Sharik Shah, from Lahori Prankstar, and another comedian named Usman made jokes and used the [derogatory terms] khusra and shemale while the whole audience was laughing and enjoying my performance. He came up and kept trying to come onstage," said Anaya, who is a theatre artist, researcher and trans comedians in an improv group.

"I asked him to leave. He kept showing me his [middle] finger and I said even my fingers are not worthy of you, so he kept abusing me. I completed my performance and I was shivering when I left the stage."

After performing again for a brief encore, Anaya immediately left the venue.

The event organiser, LahoriFied, has since come out in Anaya’s support, saying, “Abusing someone on the basis of their gender is totally UNACCEPTABLE and we apologize [to Anaya].”

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

“I love my audience but I can't go through this stress and shame which I just faced. I have the video but I don't have the courage to watch it, and the more I think that many people were recording [the incident], the more I feel depressed and angry. I know this will be out and I'm imagining how happy that will make transphobes.”

"I lost my confidence; I thought I'm brave but until when? To what extent? Why can't this society become brave and fight against such people? Why didn't anyone stand up at the event and answer him?"

Even though the organiser has apologised, Anaya says, "There were some people who laughed at [Sharik's] comments, which made me think that people still find us as a joke. There should've been a pin-drop silence."

"This was not a joke. I was not a joke. I work hard to write stuff to make them laugh to give them good time, even in such stressful times."

Lahori Prankstar is a YouTube channel run by three pranksters from Lahore — Osama Khan, Asad Ramzan and Sharik Shah, who abused Anaya onstage. The channel has a history of uploading videos of public pranks involving crude portrayals of marginalised communities and people, including trans and disabled people.

"I was excited obviously [to perform that night]; it was a new audience. I kept thinking I'll do a different set and the moment I went on stage, I broke the ice and everyone laughed out. They were enjoying the performance so much," Anaya said.

"I was scared when I was called again onstage [for the encore] but had to do it — audience kept shouting 'Once more, Anaya'. I took a breath and went back, but i was shivering so had to end it."

Anaya expressed her distress at Shahrik's abusive comments and open transphobia, saying, "I was shocked that such people are still existing in this society and people follow them."

It goes without saying, but it's clear that it needs to be repeated: it's wrong to joke at the expense of people who are trans — and we need to make public and community spaces more inclusive for everyone.


Ivan Karamazov Nov 19, 2019 05:21pm
HashBrown® Nov 19, 2019 05:36pm
"The event organiser, LahoriFied, has since come out in Anaya’s support..." I'm sorry, but what good is coming out in support long after the incident has come and gone? This imbecile prankster should have been ejected from the venue there and then. Hopefully Anaya will recover and come back stronger.
HonorBright Nov 19, 2019 05:48pm
If that's true, and by looking at those pranksters past record it's not hard to believe that it is, i am not going to watch any of the pranks on their channel...glad to say that i am not their subscriber
sanjay mittal Nov 19, 2019 05:56pm
Anaya is a brave brave person. Hope public appreciate the courage and not insult
Cris Dan Nov 19, 2019 06:04pm
Very sad.
Malik Nov 19, 2019 06:08pm
That is sad, no one has the right to bash anyone based on their gender.
Abraham D Haque Nov 19, 2019 06:10pm
Really this is 21 century but then again most Pakistani men would not know that
Adi Nov 19, 2019 06:43pm
Sick minded pranksters but unfortunately represent sizeable members of our society!
Ga Nov 19, 2019 06:43pm
Where was LahoriFied when Anaya was being harassaed?
Rabbit Nov 19, 2019 07:16pm
People should unsubscribe that prankster's channel. In fact; a complaint should be filed to YouTube. This should not go unpunished.
Chris Roberts Nov 19, 2019 07:23pm
Why were these so-called pranksters not thrown out? What kind of people are they - making fun of the marginalised and disabled? That behaviour should never be tolerated. Hopefully Sharik Shah and company will one day be given a dose of their own medicine!
supporter Nov 19, 2019 08:19pm
It is embarrassing to have so lot of people in our nation and in fact our world that trans people are one of us and deserve the highest of the dignity with utmost respect, even more than male and female genders so they dont feel alienated and humiliated. .... truly disgusting people.
Chooran Man Nov 19, 2019 08:25pm
You are courageous!!! Don't give up! Let the fools get exposed!
mansoor Nov 19, 2019 08:36pm
Cannot just blame the prankster or the organizers, what about the audience who enjoyed rather than stand up and be counted. I suspect the whole audience is imbecile having enjoyed humiliation of someone better than them.
Saif Nov 19, 2019 09:56pm
Making fun and insulting them based on their gender, appearance, etc, should be fully condemned by all members of society. It is pretty shameful that we as a society do not have the moral courage to stand up and speak for what is right. Shame on those who did this act and shame on those who laughed at it.
Nabeel Nov 19, 2019 10:27pm
This is totally unacceptable. It is time to support our transgender community and stand up for them. We need to learn how to respect every human being irrespective of their gender. Shame on the hecklers!
Nasiroski Nov 20, 2019 03:32am
Why weren’t those kicked out of the venue! Support after that fact is too little too late. Hope she will get over it soon.
vikrant Nov 20, 2019 04:05am
wow she's beautiful!
Ahsan Gul Nov 20, 2019 05:19am
Our society right from the children to adults must be taught to respect and tolerate others.
Ali Nov 20, 2019 09:03am
@Anaya - the only possible answer i can think of is because you proved over and again that you are brave and you can always better handle those so called ‘men’ in any way. Keep it up! I assure you there will be a time when No One would dare to stand against you.
Faisal Nov 20, 2019 11:17am
This is so wrong. Hope this will be the end of Lahori prankster or whatever they are called!
sixes Nov 20, 2019 11:39am
Where was security. He should have been taken away immediately. Anaya Sheikh should file a law suit against abuser.
Cromius Nov 20, 2019 12:36pm
Someone should report the video and the channel to youtube and have Google close down their channel if their only outlet on video is abusing and joking at the cost of 'less powerful' others!
Aurangzaib Nov 20, 2019 02:12pm
These people should be reported to the authorities. Nobody is allowed to make derogatory remarks against anyone's religion, sex or color.
Shak Nov 20, 2019 04:34pm
It's shameful that some people enjoy making rude jokes about trans people. Stop watching their YouTube channel and useless content.
Dr.Sadaf Nov 20, 2019 11:06pm
Illiterate nation, very sad, these people will give a corrupt person endless chances of gaining power but they don’t have the decency to show respect towards a genuine and talented individual. Do all these people have the guts and the talent to get up on the stage and perform and the answer is no. Grow up people and come out of your pretentious attitudes. Live and let live.
Joker Nov 20, 2019 11:25pm
Anaya, you keep doing what you do. I have lived in the west most of my life and believe you me, with all the equality talk and gender rights, LBGTQ community faces these challenges every day. Be brave and hold your fort.
FAROUQ OMARO Nov 21, 2019 07:11am
Shameful act. These people should've had action taken against them. Even those who laughed are a despicable lot.
Chrisentiae Saint-Piaf Nov 24, 2019 02:14pm
"Sharik Shah, who abused Anaya onstage" ... a "prankster" ... sounds more like a man-child, with an inferiority complex around womyn. A toxic male who is a role model to no one. If Sharik Shah was a real man, he would know to treat ALL womyn with respect. He has a lot to learn to become a decent human being ... he can start by sincerely apologizing. #MeToo NB Real men respect womyn. Culture THAT !!!