Marvia Malik, a 21 year old journalism graduate and model, has just been hired as Pakistan’s first transgender news anchor.
Malik was hired by the station Kohenoor TV. She made news earlier this month as the first transgender model on the runway at the Pakistan Fashion Design Council. Overwhelmed by the love and support she received as a model, she decided to venture into the media industry.
“Similar to the response from the fashion industry, I was welcomed warmly in the media,” Malik said to Geo TV.
Earlier this month, the Pakistan Senate passed a bill allowing citizens to determine their own gender and register as such in government offices and on official documents. The Bill also provides measures for anti-discrimination of transgender citizens in educational institutions, with employers, and for transport and health services.
While many saw this as a step, others agreed that more work needed to be done in Pakistan for transgender acceptance.
Malik has stated that she sees her appointment as Pakistan’s premier transgender news anchor as a development in the right direction.
“Our Pakistani society has space to accept us, only laws are needed,” she told Geo TV.
Malik also hopes that her platform will allow her to advocate for her community. She plans on advocating for the access of education of transgender youth abandoned by their families. Malik’s own family disowned her when she was in the tenth grade. She has also been vocal on extending the civil rights of transgender adolescents and children to protect them from entering prostitution or other dangerous methods of survival.
“Our community should be treated equally and there must not be any gender discrimination. We should be given equal rights and be considered ordinary citizens, instead of third-gender,” she told BBC.