Shahzadi Rai and Chandni Shah have become the first transgender members of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) City Council. They just took oath on Wednesday and Twitter (just like us) couldn’t be more proud.
Rai, a violence case manager at the Gender Interactive Alliance, has been consistently working as a political activist for the legislative rights of the khwajasira community in Pakistan. Similarly, Shah is a prominent advocate for transgender rights, affiliated with the JI.
Their recent appointment as members of the KMC City Council is a first for their community, but hopefully not the last. In January, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah chaired a meeting of the provincial cabinet in which he approved the creation of two reserved seats for transgender people in local councils.
In absolutely heartwarming tweets, Rai said it is an “honour to have been entrusted to serve the community”. She also thanked PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani.
Congratulations and celebrations poured in from members of the khwajasira community, activists and netizens alike, many lauding the beauty of democracy and its ability to emancipate marginalised communities.
Many pointed out what a massive win this is, not just for Rai and Shah but for their entire community and Pakistani society at large, especially given the recent setback.
The transgender community is among the most underrepresented and vulnerable communities in Pakistan and we’re so glad it finally has brave leaders like Rai and Shah to champion its causes. Just as we had lost hope in the current political wasteland, the enigmatic women have given us a reason to believe again. We wish them the absolute best luck for their time in the council and hope to see progress in the right direction.