Three transgender women were shot on the street in Pakistan after fending off a group of men making unwanted sexual advances.
The women were headed home in Swabi, a district in northeastern Pakistan, when they were stopped and harassed late last week. After they defended themselves, the men became violent, shooting the unnamed trio and driving off.
The victims were taken to nearby Mardan for medical attention, but the understaffed hospital couldn’t provide adequate care. “There is no surgical doctor present, there are no facilities, they kept on shifting and moving from one ward to other,” Trans Action Pakistan (TAP) wrote on Facebook. “Three of them are bleeding, and the hospital staff has no clue how to deal with this. What a shame this is.”
Instead of aiding the women, the group claims, local authorities further harassed them. “Police [have] completely gone mad—they have tortured the transgender community, who brought three trans women to Mardan after they were shot in Swabi.”
One of the victims is reportedly still listed in critical condition.
Anti-transgender violence is rampant in Pakistan, and victims often face discrimination in hospitals, as well: In May 2016, a trans activist who was shot eight times died in a hallway as hospital staff debated whether to put her in the male or female ward.
Pakistan was one of the first countries in the world to recognize a third gender in 2009, and began allowing trans people to get I.D. cards and vote. In 2016, a religious decree allowed the more than 10,000 transgender people estimated to be living in Pakistan to legally marry.
But progress has been overshadowed by violence. Qamar Naseem of the Transgender Association told Pakistan Today their group has documented 22 anti-trans attacks in 2018 alone.
“There is no life security for transgender persons and there is no justice,” a representative from TransAction Alliance told Dawn.com. “No one seems to care if a transgender person gets killed.”