In a first case of its kind to come before Peshawar’s high court, a 23-year-old woman has asked for permission to undergo surgery to become a man.
“I’m not happy with the life of a woman as I cannot work openly like a man to support my family,” said Kainat Murad, who has been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, a condition in which a person persistently identifies with the opposite gender. Murad is an only child and her paralyzed father is unable to work.
“Since childhood, I’ve been living life like a male,” she has said in her petition. “I’ve played with boys and now I ride a motorcycle.”
Her lawyer, Saifullah Kakakhel, filed the petition on Friday, in which she seeks a court order to allow her to undergo Gender Reassignment Surgery.
Murad has asked the court to issue a directive for the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to change her name in its records to Muhammad Kaif.
In this country, she added in her petition, the protection against harassment of women laws has failed to protect women workers and women are not even able to raise their voices due social taboos. This is also why she wants to change her gender.
“I am almost a male. I’ve consulted doctors, though they have said that they can perform such a surgery but have cautioned that I have to get the high court’s permission before undergoing it,” her petition said.
Her lawyer told the court that her condition results in depression, anxiety and insomnia which can only be treated through the surgery. He added that while the surgery is not illegal in Pakistan it is considered a “shameful act”. He argued that it is the legal and constitutional right of every person to live life according to their own choices.
The petition also states that since Murad is poor she cannot undergo the surgery in a private hospital, therefore, she requests the court to also issue direction to a government-run hospital.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through its chief secretary, the heads of the Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex and Nadra’s chief are named as respondents in the petition.