Islamabad: Dr Sarah Gill, a Pakistani activist, has made history by becoming Pakistan’s first transgender doctor.
Dr Gill has been described as a “beacon of hope” for the country’s neglected transgender community to pursue their dreams.
“This is the success of the whole trans community of Pakistan,” said Dr Gill who fought all odds to complete her education and finally become a doctor.
Dr Gill, who is in her 20s, attended PAF school and Bahria college for intermediate before completing her MBBS from Jinnah Medical and Dental College in Karachi.
“The respect, admiration and love from my community and everyone else is overwhelming,” she said, during a TV interview after earning her MBBS degree.
Challenges and family pressure
But breaking stereotypes was not easy. She had to identify herself as a boy during school years as she was too scared of the reaction of her family and society about embracing her feminine identity.
“My parents wanted to conceal my identity as a transgender” due to pressure and disproval by extended family and society.
“I remember my mother cried a lot when she found out from the doctor that I’m a trans. That was the most difficult time for me. But that approval from the doctor offered me the acceptance I needed from my family.”
Renouncing her identity as a boy was a difficult choice as she had to leave her family and home in Karachi at the age of 14. In the years to come, she had to face the harsh reality and challenges faced by many transgenders in the country in the absence of family support.
Sarah requested the parents of transgender children to be supportive from the beginning so that kids don’t experience harassment, discrimination, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, or illegal and immoral activities.
Vows to work for welfare of transgenders
Little encouragement from trans community was enough for Dr Gill to continue her education while also working for the rights and welfare of transgenders in Pakistan. “The trans community is gradually changing. They are more inclined towards getting education and respectable jobs. But the attitude of the society must also change,” she insisted.
She may be the first but Sarah strongly believes that she won’t be the last transgender doctor in the country. “This is just the beginning. There will be many Sarahs out there in Pakistan who will be more educated and successful than me.“
Dr Gill vows to work for the welfare of the trans community, saying that “they are entitled to equal educational rights and opportunities.” Sharing her future plans, Dr Gill said that she aims to do Fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Endocrinology (study of hormones) in a bid to include the health related issues faced by transgender in the country’s medical curriculum to help make their lives easier.