Transgender Woman In Pakistan Dies From Gunshot Wounds After Horribly Discriminatory Treatment

The gender binary debate has gone so far that it’s cost one Pakistani trans woman her life. 23-year-old Alesha died of gunshot wounds at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital while doctors took their sweet time deciding whether they were going to treat her in the male or female ward. A medical director intervened by later moving her to the VIP ward, but it was too late. She hemorrhaged to death Wednesday morning, according to a hospital spokesman.

Trans activist group Trans Action Khyber Pakhtunkhwa first broke the news on their Facebook page, stating she had been targeted by a gang that extorts money from transgender people within the socially conservative province. A member of the activist group says there have been 45 trans killings in the last two years, with five of them members of the group, including Alesha. Though the Pakistani Supreme Court has granted trans individuals legal egalitarian status in 2009, local governments continue to limit their access to education and medical resources.

The error is certainly inexcusable on the doctors’ part, where in a reasonably humane society, health and safety would trump superficial gender labels. This is further proof there should be government-mandated anti-discrimination courses required for all doctors, with 50% of respondents in a National Transgender Discrimination survey reporting they’ve had to educate a doctor about their identity. What’s worse is that 19% of respondents have been refused medical care entirely.

To add literal insult to injury, Alesha’s doctors allegedly asked her for her cell phone number, how much she would charge for a dancing party (it’s a common tradition in their Pakistani province, but still, time and place), and if her breasts are real. Doctors asked fellow friends and activists outside whether she was HIV-positive. All while suffering for far too long on her deathbed. I’m fuming so hard my screen is getting foggy. Gimme a sec.

It’s terrible enough that transgender people feel unsafe and oppressed as a function of their existence — in the workplace, in the housing market, and yes, going to the bathroom. The pervasive ideology is that it’s only natural to stick to the gender you were assigned at birth, with a slew of (mostly) southern states enacting “bathroom bills” to keep trans individuals away from other cisgender people while each party is locked up in a stall anyway. Once they emerge to wash their hands, they can engage in bathroom banter, which science says is where the most lighthearted, upbeat interactions happen. Want to know how many trans people have engaged in attacks? The same number of fucks they have to give about subscribing to the notion that your genitals necessarily dictate where you pee. (That’s a hard zero).

But for someone to experience such a horrendous level of discrimination while blood is spewing out of their wounds is embarrassing for humankind. Trans lives matter, and deserve way more than this.