We all know that access to education is one of the most valuable resources a person can have. Unfortunately, as if schoolwork itself isn’t hard enough, members of certain marginalized groups, including transgender people, face additional barriers when it comes to trying to earn an education. Last week, Pakistani NGO Exploring Future Foundation (EFF) took a huge step in knocking down these barriers by opening The Gender Guardian, which is the first school for trans people in any Islamic state.
A huge milestone has been achieved in granting transgender their rights in the country through Pakistan’s first ever transgender school.Named The Gender Guardian, the school offers a full 12 years of academic education from primary level to matriculation & leading up to college. pic.twitter.com/n5Y9wDHHRi
— Govt of Pakistan (@pid_gov) April 19, 2018
Daily Pakistan says that while The Gender Guardian may be the first school of its kind, it’s definitely not the last. In fact, two more schools for the transgender community are set to open in Pakistan in the next week.
The Gender Guardian offers twelve years of education for its students, from primary level to higher secondary level, and also offers vocational training, from fashion and beauty to graphic design. It has fifteen faculty members, including founder Asif Shahzad, and thirty students.
“I was moved after seeing the bomb blast in Indonesia in 2016 at a transgender school. It was the only such school in any Islamic country in the world, “Shahzad told Hindustan Times. “After that we decided to provide them education and bring them to the mainstream.”
The opening of The Gender Guardian follows breakthrough legislation that passed through Pakistan’s Senate in March. The Senate unanimously passed a bill that protects the rights of transgender people, which is the first step in their right to an education.