LAHORE: A Pakistani channel recently created history by hiring the country's first transgender news anchor. The channel, Kohenoor News announced on Friday that it was hiring a transgender news anchor Marvia Malik. She has a bachelors degree in journalism and plans to pursue a masters of arts programme.
However, she claims that despite the education, her community members do not have enough opportunities to prosper. "Everywhere we go, a transgender person is looked down upon. But there's nothing we can't do; we're educated, have degrees, but no opportunities, no encouragement. This is what I want to change," Malik said.
She adds that despite several tall claims by authorities, transgenders do not get the support they need. "Pakistan has been independent for so long, yet we don't have the same rights as any other individual in the country. Only claims have been made and promises of quota in government jobs, but nothing has come out of it," Malik scoffed.
With abuses of all kinds, Marivia has had a tough life. However, she claims that all these only turned her into a stronger person.
Marivia recently made headlines by walking the runway at the Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC) fashion week in Lahore. Recalling the stint, she said, "Just as I created history in the fashion industry, I want to do the same in the media industry. I have several modelling offers that I'm considering, but I want to do something for my community that I feel is way behind. So I want to strengthen my people."
In her next move, Malik plans to country-wide law making mandatory for families to give transgender persons their share in property as a boy or girl is. "Transgenders are forced to dance and beg because they have no other means to make ends meet. When they are shunned by families, they have nowhere else to go. My trans friends who have masters degrees don't have jobs which is why they end up on streets or become sex workers. This is why I want to push for a law so a transgender if disowned, can make a living out of the share in the property," she said.
Since her debut as a news anchor, she has gathered a lot of support on Twitter and people are welcoming the change.
A definite thumbs up! Marvia Malik - Pakistan TV airs first transgender anchor - BBC News https://t.co/e60j9TYMe5
— janice sinclaire (@janicesinclaire) March 26, 2018
— Sanjeev Dixit (@dixitsanjeev) March 27, 2018
Such a progression! Congratulations to #MarviaMalik, to be the first to set an example for the transgender community in media industry of Pakistan. God made each life precious, it is up to us what we do with it! #Transformation https://t.co/lGdow2r2uG
— kulraj_randhawa (@kulraj_randhawa) March 27, 2018
Oh Wow Pakistan a Muslim country offering a Transgender an anchor job making Trump America look like in th dark ages pic.twitter.com/82FDUf6L0d
— Beodi shazmi (@shazmigangs) March 27, 2018
While we're banning transgender folks from serving in the military, the liberal bastion of Pakistan is putting them on television.
— Mark Lopac (@MLopac) March 27, 2018
Commenting on the job so far, she said that she applied when positions were advertised three months ago and was hired the same day when she gave the interview. "The channel management told me the same day they wanted to support me and my community and help us get our rights and an honourable place in society. The three-month training also went like a breeze because everyone is so friendly, loving and helpful. It feels like home here at work; I feel they're all my family because I never got a family's love. Even the experienced anchors helped me a lot," Malik added.
Kohenoor News' director Bilal Ashraf said that he wanted to relaunch the channel with a different approach and work for social causes instead of depending on the monotonous formula other channels are employing.