"I have been fighting for the rights of the transgender community for a long time and I might have to live with this label. This is just a beginning.... I am willing to take it as it will give me an opportunity to work for the welfare of my community, which faces many problems in Pakistan," the country's first transgender news presenter said of her appointment to the important position.
In a country like Pakistan where transgender people face major discrimination, it is a huge milestone that Marvia Malik has taken a newscaster position on the private Kohenoor network in her native Lahore in a heavily Muslim and conservative country. It is also impressive that this pioneer has received this honor at only 21 years old.
While Pakistan recognizes transgender people as a third gender, allowing them to inherit property, they still live at the fringes of society. Malik adds: “Our society treats transgender people shamefully, degrading them, denying them jobs, laughing at them and taunting them ... I want to change that.”
Malik says that her childhood was filled with abuse from classmates and her parents, who kicked her out after high school. She eventually took a job at a hair salon where she worked to put herself through journalism school.
Just last week, she was thrust into the national spotlight when Malik walked down the runway at a fashion show—becoming the first transgender woman to do so in the country,
At just 21 years old, Malik is already breaking down some barriers. Earlier this month, she became the first transgender woman to strut along the catwalk at a fashion show. But she says her true passion is journalism, and she’s thrilled to be the face of the evening news on the.
So, how has Pakistan reacted? "The response has been overwhelming and welcoming. I was expecting a normal reaction but the feedback and messages I'm getting from Pakistani viewers and people around the world are extraordinary. I am very happy to receive so much love from everyone. Many Pakistani journalists also sent me congratulatory messages," she said.