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Later on the phone with her mother, Sid slips into using the male Urdu pronoun.Sid only visits her mother when her brothers aren’t home.She has been invited to speak at the Karachi literature festival’s travelling edition at the Southbank Centre, London, this month.Her education and eloquence has perhaps opened doors that are closed to more marginalised trans women.I do not belong to the community of female sex workers (FSW).We are respectable people and our community is called dera dar.Pakistan may seem like an unlikely place for transgender activism.But in south Asia, the khawaja sira community (known as hijras), an organised group of trans people, have long been part of society and local culture.

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“People ask me: ‘Did he leave you when you became so feminine?Closer to home, the Nepali model Anjali Lama became the first trans person to walk at fashion week in India this year.Being outed as trans was once the death knell for a catwalk career.Sid believes they are angry about her publicly coming out.On a weekend afternoon, Kami held court on the lawns of a hotel where the Karachi literature festival was underway, pausing to point out her partner of eight years, and calling out “jaani” (roughly, the Urdu version of “dahling”) to friends. Her openness extends from sharing that she once used kerosene oil to clean her hair after a shoot to talking about her partner.

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