In a first for Pakistan, this week saw the inclusion of the first-ever transgender newscaster, model Maavia Malik, into the mediascape of the country.
Maavia, who previously walked the runway at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week earlier this year for ‘Jeem’ by Hamza Bokhari, reportedly went to audition for the relaunched TV channel, Kohenoor, where she was hired almost instantly.
However, for the budding model, her dreams are larger than the channel or what she has achieved till now.
“I am extremely happy for this opportunity,” Maavia told Something Haute. “I hope that this feat manages to change the society’s outlook of transgenders – which to some extent is changing. My main reason to get till here was to bring visibility and representation of the transgender community to the mainstream.”
Maavia, who holds a Bachelors degree in a country where the community is still fighting for identification rights, feels that her struggle isn’t any different than any other transgender person.
“My story is no different than any other transgender person,” the model said. “I had no family acceptance or social acceptance, and neither do they. This is exactly what I’ve set out to change with this opportunity.”
Although Pakistan may soon change the law so transgender people can be their gender without medical approval, there’s still a long journey to go according to Maavia – and she’s doing all she can to change it; by law.
“A law needs to be established and implemented for transgenders and their property rights,” she said. “If a family thinks of abandoning a child – especially on the basis of gender bias, then a law should stipulate that the family must give them their right to property or their legal share when deserting them. I guarantee that if this law passes, no family would disown their transgender child.”
The transgender model can be seen on Kohenoor TV’s main news transmission and is aiming to prove that if she can do it, other transgender people can too.
“Once a law passes and once other people [of my community] see what I’m doing, no transgender person will be forced to dance or beg on the streets,” Maavia concluded.