A transgender activist in Pakistan died of her gunshot wounds after she was allegedly denied of adequate medical attention at a local hospital.
The transgender woman known as Alesha was said to have been shot eight times in Peshawar on Sunday night by an organised criminal gang that exploits the trans community.
The 23-year-old was then transported to the nearby Lady Reading Hospital for medical help, but was reportedly neglected by doctors and refused access to both the male and female wards.
Qamar Naseem, coordinator of a transgender rights group, Blue Veins, told The Express Tribune that the hospital ‘failed to provide [Alesha] with urgent care or necessary facilities as she was transgender.’
But a spokesperson for the 1,750-bed hospital explained that it ‘was only acting as per the complaints of those admitted.’
Alesha was then placed in a curtained-off bed in a corridor next to a bathroom.
Women from the trans advocacy group Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Trans Action Alliance, where Alesha had worked for as a coordinator, shared that they were harassed by the hospital’s male staff while they waited with Alesha.
Men had approached them and asked for their numbers, how much they charge for a dance, and whether they ‘perform sex,’ said the group.
Alesha was eventually transferred to a VIP ward for treatment after the hospital’s medical director intervened.
On Wednesday morning, Alesha succumbed to her severe injuries.
Last December, Alesha attended a trans rights protest outside the Press Club in Peshawar where she spoke out about the lack of care for transgender people in the country.
Speaking to reporters, she shared her stories of being rejected at job interviews despite having 12 years of schooling because she’s a trans woman.
‘We are the most vulnerable segment of the society but none of the government provides us our due rights,’ she lamented.
Alesha shared that she was abandoned by her father and brothers, and that she would dance to earn money to support herself, and her mother and her sisters whom she still kept in contact with.
A friend and fellow activist, Farzana Jan, said that Alesha received a threat by a gang that extorts money from transgender people before she was attacked.
‘Transgender people are easily targeted because they are physically weak and have no social support,’ Farzana said, reports LA Times.
Trans Action also claimed that the gang is sexually abusing and forcing members of the trans community to make pornographic films.
The trans rights group revealed that Alesha was its fifth member to be attacked this year, reports The Telegraph.
Yesterday noon, Trans Action took Alesha’s body outside the Faqirabad police station for a protest, asking the police and government officials to take action against her killers.
The police have filed a first information report for a suspect named Fazal Gujjar.
While he remained at large, it’s been reported that some members of his family have been taken in for investigation.
‘I stand here today with the hope this violence will stop now,’ said Paro who was crying beside the body of her friend on the road, reports The Express Tribune.