Marvia Malik has made history by becoming the first transgender anchor aired in Pakistan.

Malik is a journalism graduate who started off as a model, but was then offered a job as an anchor on the private broadcaster Kohenoor. After three months of training, her first broadcast was aired on Friday.

She said she was moved to tears when she was offered the job. “The dream that I saw for myself, I was able to climb on the first stair to achieving it,” she said.

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This is a big step for the country as a whole as many transgender people in Pakistan experience a great deal of discrimination. Many struggle to find employment, which leads to them to resorting into begging, dancing or prostitution to earn money.

Malik hopes that her new job will help improve life for the whole transgender community in Pakistan. “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 said.

She also explained that equality for transgender people is important to her because her family has disowned her for being transgender. “My family knows I have modeled and they know that I work as a newscaster. It’s the age of social media and there’s nothing that my family doesn’t know. But they have still disowned me,” she said.

Junaid Ansari, owner of the TV station, told VOA that Malik was not hired due to the fact that she was transgender and that the station was trying to break taboos, but was hired on the basis of merit.

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“They are human beings, too, and they should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. I purely made the decision on the basis of treating all humans equally,” Ansari told VOA News. “The thought of challenging the social norms or breaking taboos did not even come to my mind.”

Ansari said that feedback regarding Malik’s hiring has been positive for the most part, however they are still receiving some negative feedback.

Just this month the Pakistan’s Senate approved a bill for the protection of transgender rights. The bill ensured employment opportunities and easy installment loans for transgender people.

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