Pakistan continues to the lead the way on trans rights as first fashion label run by a trans person is set to launch.
Maya Zaman also the brains behind the new ready-to-wear fashion line, Surkhaabi. The 24-year-old also works tirelessly on community projects and is a passionate trans activist.
Her fashion line is a dream come true after facing a lifetime of setbacks and discrimination because of her gender identity.
‘I am finding it hard to believe that my own clothing line is being launched,’ Zaman told The Express Tribune.
‘Everyone who underestimated me, including my very own family, ultimately led me to where and who I am today.’
To launch Surkhaabi, Zaman went into business with a woman called Fouzia. Together the pair want to demonstrate the power of women and hope their clothing line helps women’s confidence.
‘It is basically a newly-formed partnership of cisgendered and transgender women,’ she said.
‘The unique thing about Surkhaabi is that it’s for women of all ages and sizes. The idea behind it is to promote body positivity and diversity and discourage body shaming.’
Trans people also play a big role in the new fashion label behind the scenes. Zaman has hired trans graphic designers, clothes makers and photographers to help build the brand. She also hopes to appoint a trans person as the public ambassador of Surkhaabi.
‘This is a moment of pride for the transgender community, which is proving that they will not be left behind,” she said.
‘All we need is acceptance, opportunity and trust.’
Pakistan’s trans fashion
Zaman is a well-known activist and became one of the first trans people to vote under their true gender in this month’s federal elections.
— Maya Zaman (@maya_zaman) July 1, 2018
Zaman is not the only trans person making waves in Pakistan’s fashion scene. Supermodel Kami Sid is a national celebrity in the country and travels the world to advocate for trans rights.
Sid is the country’s first trans model and uses her platform to raise awareness about trans issues.
‘I just feel it’s a great platform and opportunity for me to not only explore my talents but also represent the transgender community with dignity in front of mainstream society,’ she said in 2016.
Pakistan has greatly improved its relationship to the trans community. But trans people still face high rates of murder and discrimination.
This year the country updated its Transgender Rights Bill to widen the anti-discrimination protections for trans people. It also included trans people in the census and allowed trans people to vote in their true gender for the first. Pakistan also made it a lot easier for trans people to get national ID cards in their true gender which will make it easier to find employment and access services.
The country also made history in March this year when Marvia Malik became the first trans TV news anchor to deliver a live bulletin.