Rani Khan set up the first transgender madrassah in Islamabad with her own savings. A long white shawl-wearing lady teaches the Holy Quran to the transgenders.
The madrassah is an important achievement for the trans community in the Muslim country, where transgender people face ostracism, even though there is no official restriction on them attending religious schools or praying at mosques.
“Most families do not accept transgender people. They throw them out of their homes. Transgender people turn to wrongdoing,” Khan, 34, said, as other transgender people, their heads similarly covered, swayed back and forth behind her, reciting Quranic verses.
“At one time, I was also one of them.”
She joined a transgender group at the age of 17, dancing at weddings and other functions, but later on she quit it and connected with the religion to fulfil the request of her deceased fellow and friend to do something for community. Khan studied the Holy Quran at home, and attended religious schools, before opening the two-room madrassah in October.
The madrassah could help trans people assimilate into mainstream society, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat told Reuters.
“I’m hopeful that if you replicate this model in other cities, things will improve,” he said.