The Invisible Casualties of Gender warfare

The hate clashes of misogynists and misandrists, and the pro-trans and anti-trans factions, unleash a toxic storm that ravages the lives of women and hermaphrodites.

In the land of Indus, a nation named Pakistan was born of ideological struggles, yet, in its midst, a silent war rages on. The toxic fog of hate and intolerance chokes the air and obscures the real casualties of the conflicts: women and the khwaja sira with Anglican name hermaphrodites or intersex.
The hate clashes of misogynists and misandrists, and the pro-trans and anti-trans factions, unleash a toxic storm that ravages the lives of women and hermaphrodites. Women are pummelled by the double-edged sword of misogyny and patriarchy, forced to navigate a labyrinth of gender-based violence, discrimination, and marginalization. Meanwhile, hermaphrodites are erased and invisibilized, their identities rejected by both sides, leaving them to face the brutal consequences of a society that refuses to acknowledge their existence.

The war of words and narratives becomes a war on bodies, with women and hermaphrodites caught in the crossfire, their autonomy, dignity, and humanity sacrificed at the altar of hate and intolerance. As the factions continue to clash, the real casualties are the women and hermaphrodites who are denied their basic human rights, their voices silenced, and their lives reduced to mere pawns in a game of gender warfare.

A story told by Shehzad, a transgender that belonged to a reputable family in Malakand went viral on social media recently. According to him when he reached an adult age, he had to run off his home to save his life because his brothers were not ready to accept him. The world’s cruel welcome nearly consumed him afterwards and then the only option he could get was to become a dancer in parties.  This story of unacceptability is a single drop in an ocean of untold struggles, a reminder that countless biological trans are fighting to stay afloat in a sea of discrimination and marginalisation where pro-trans and anti-trans are pitting against each other on irrelevant debates of supporting and/or rejecting self-identified transgenderism.

Consequently, these unnecessary debates lead to neglecting the pressing needs of a marginalized community that makes up a mere 0.005% of Pakistan’s population. Meanwhile, these individuals are left to fend for themselves, vulnerable to the harsh realities of early homelessness and discrimination. Shifting the focus towards tangible solutions, like establishing protection centres that offer a safe haven and advocating for their constitutional rights under Article 25 of the Constitution is less likely being considered while talking about trans-rights. On emphasising to see beyond the surface level, President of Gender Interactive Alliance, Bindiya Rana’s remarks “You see and comment on our way of dressing and makeup; you don’t see our empty stomachs and our bleeding hearts” indicate that how the gender debate on words and narratives is irrelevant in the toilsome endeavours for their actual rights.

In an another similar war, the cries of feminazi and patriarchy drown out the whispers of survivors of domestic violence, the pleas of girls forced into child marriages and the silent screams of women trapped in cycles of oppression. The clash of the two extremes, misogynists and misandrists, have overshadowed actual problems of women and the polarisation has made it even harder to talk about women’s rights.

I, in an attempt to ignite a spark of change, proposed a seminar on women’s empowerment at the University of Malakand, but the concerned students doused my flames with a surprising request. They urged me to veil my message in subtle language, stripping the words of their feminist fervour saying that the university administration will not accept a proposal aimed at women empowerment. Perplexed, I struggled to comprehend their intent. And then, like a sleight of hand, they conjured a euphemism – ‘unlocking female potential’ – a phrase that diluted the essence of empowerment, leaving me wondering if the very purpose of the seminar had been locked away as well.

Major reason behind this scepticism is the misandrist approach of certain feminists. Feminism is often misconstrued as a radical affront to masculinity, sparking a vicious cycle of mistrust and hostility. This toxic dynamic fans the flames of misogyny further, creating a suffocating atmosphere where constructive conversations are stifled and genuine progress is rarely possible. The din of discord drowns out the voices of reason, leaving us struggling to address the real issues that matter – and the cycle of misunderstanding and fear continues to perpetuate itself.

In order to uplift these marginalised communities the masses need to focus on building a society that prioritizes constructive projects and genuine struggles, rather than getting bogged down in gender warfare and unnecessary scepticism. By working together on meaningful initiatives and addressing real issues, we can create a more inclusive and equitable world for all. Let’s redirect our energy towards education and skill-building programs, address systemic inequalities and discrimination, promote mental health and wellness initiatives and support marginalized communities in amplifying their voices for productive struggles.
Through these constructive efforts, we can create a society that values collaboration, understanding, and progress, and leaves gender warfare and scepticism behind for the sake of actual victims who are being overshadowed by certain warring parties.

Munazza Hameed
Munazza Hameed
I have graduated in IR from Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan. It is in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. I'm social activist based in Malakand, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.