Uproar after Pakistani hospital lets trans gunshot victim die

A horrific story from Pakistan of a hospital refusing to treat a transgender woman who was the victim of gunshot wounds.

The victim, a Pakistani trans activist named Alisha, had been shot multiple times (the local trans activist group, Trans Action Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, says she was shot eight times at point-blank range). Her friends say the hospital staff at the Peshwar’s Lady Reading Hospital, refused to treat her, and instead mocked her.

The staff reportedly came up with all sorts of reasons not to treat Alisha, including claiming they didn’t know what ward to put her in, the men’s ward or the women’s. The staff also allegedly asked her about her breast and genitals, and whether she was a sex worker.

Alisha subsequently died.

The hospital now claims that the delay was due to complaints from other patients, and that the hospital was busy trying to find Alisha a private room. None of that explains why you wouldn’t immediately treat someone dying of multiple gunshot wounds.

Similar concerns have been voiced in the US about the spate of “religious freedom” bills that Republican lawmakers are pushing around the country. LGBT leaders fear that such legislation will be used by medical providers (doctors, emergency response employees) to deny medical service to gay and trans patients.

Unfortunately, there’s a history of local gang members harassing and attacking trans women in Pakistan. Like a similar problem I’ve reported on in Russia, gangs kidnap trans women, rape them, film the encounter, then try to extort money from them. In Russia, neo-Nazi gangs lure young gay men into alleged dates where they are brutalized and filmed, and money is sometimes extorted.

The local news reports that one suspect has now been arrested in Alisha’s murder.

Alisha’s death has made news around Pakistan, and now internationally. Her friends say that hers was the first public funeral of a transgender person in Pakistan. This appears to be Pakistan’s Matthew Shepard moment for its trans community. Hopefully something good can come of this tragedy.

Here’s coverage in a local language, but you can get the gist of it: Alisha’s death has changed things.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Badgerite

    This is kind of thing is also why I consider those ‘bathroom bills’ in places like North Carolina and Alabama to be so offensive and unacceptable. Transgender people are a minority of a minority. People don’t need legal encouragement to be awful to a minority. There are those who will do that all on their own. And such abuse can run the gamut from stigmatizing to deadly. So the idea that you would seek to put encouragement for such behavior in the laws is beyond disgusting. And certainly very un-Christian and unconstitutional.

  • Benitamjohnston3

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  • Jerry Shepherd

    Getting a critically injured person to the emergency room should be a priority. What were they going to do; find her a private room to die in?

  • Amyllim

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  • UncleBucky

    It’s a cruel, uneducated and backwards culture. NOTE, I am not talking about Islam. I am talking about the people who grew up with Islam in a society that uses Islam to support its cruel, uneducated and backwards traditions.

    Don’t blame this on Islam. Otherwise, I will have to ask you about cultures whose people adhere to Christianity. …

  • Blogvader

    !@#$ing animals.

    I know it’s a violation of social mores to wish death on people, but I wish death on medical professionals who’d let a person die simply for being part of an hated demographic.

  • Richard Wright

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  • goulo

    Ultimately agreed that assholery doesn’t require religion as a cause, but the Sky Thingy certainly exacerbates the problem in many cases.

  • quax

    Women are actually better educated than men in Iran as well as Saudi Arabia:
    http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/10-countries-where-women-are-more-educated-than-men/?view=all

    The situation is not quite as simple as you make it out to be.

  • quax

    To me it certainly was news when I first stumbled on this story on CBC. I had no idea that there even existed LGBT activists in a country as haunted by Islamic fundamentalism as Pakistan.

  • quax

    Sadly, it indeed takes a special kind of steely determination and courage to be a LGBT activist in an Islamic country.

  • emjayay

    No, not joking. Our Christianists are like I commented above are going a little way down the same road as radical right Muslims in the Middle East, but it is silly to imagine there is any comparison.

    A majority of Muslims in some countries think death is a reasonable punishment for leaving the religion. Many, virtually all in some places, keep their wives inside and accompanied by a male relative and wearing a pup tent if they have to go out. Women serve the men hand and foot 24/7. Gay people are stoned to death, as well as women even suspected of anything. But in societies with this level of institutional misogyny it may be just fine for men to do some weekend buttfucking and have all-male (the only kind) parties with hired dancing boys available for individual fun afterwards. It is a different world and beyond anything seen in the West a thousand years ago.

    None of this is quite the same thing as a Purity Ball.

    And surely none of this is news to anyone.

  • In this case it would be Islam, you’d be hard-put to find a mosque or leaders that would act saintly on this subject.

  • emjayay

    I’m not a believer, but there are religions and there are religions. Major religions may have a span from saintly and filled with peace and love on one end to terrible oppressing murderous haters on the other. It’s not the Sky Thingy that is the problem.

  • Webster

    There’s no question in my mind but that religion is the driving force not only behind the shooting, but behind the abysmal, unforgivable actions of the hospital as well. The sooner human beings divest themselves of the ridiculous notion of an Invisible-Sky-Thingy-In-Charge, the better off humanity will be.

  • marknc

    I’ll assume you are joking. The “Christian” right is DEFINITELY trying to turn this country into Pakistan – or worse!

  • Phil in FLL

    …hatred and bigotry is the actual lifestyle choice being made…

    There are religions that exhort their followers to kill the people of other religions, and there are religions that are anti-gay, white supremacist, etc… you have a wide selection to choose from. Yes, it’s a choice, and that choice—no matter how hateful the religion—is protected in the U.S. and most countries as “freedom of religion.”

    If I can extend the argument further, I could say that a hypothetical man with children who has ended his marriage with his wife has every right to marry a same-sex partner even though that hypothetical divorced man may be able to choose whether or not to live in a same-sex relationship. I know that the Christianists will scream blue murder to hear me say that, but that hypothetical divorced man’s choice is just as much his right as our right to join a religion with hateful, murderous doctrines. If not, then the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence mean nothing.

  • I just can’t fathom the lack of basic human decency and professional ethics required to deny medical treatment to a person. I just can’t. And then to mock the victim and her friends as she lay dying from multiple gunshot wounds…

    I know the anti-LGBT bigots like to claim that being LGBT is itself perverse in some way. But as we see right here, once again, hatred and bigotry is the actual lifestyle choice being made, not the other person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • emjayay

    The welfare of every human being on earth is our business.

  • emjayay

    I don’t think Christianists are going to turn the US into Pakistan, even if they are going a little way down the same alley. The Pakistan story is hardly news. Maybe the protest is.

    Anti-gay and anti-trans anything anywhere is a part of sexism and patriarchy. In a lot of the Muslim Middle East it is all of course in epic proportions that haven’t been seen in Western countries since the Middle Ages, and even our Middle Ages version was weak tea compared to those places today. It isn’t anything-ist to point this out, or have some concern about some immigrants from those areas on that basis.

  • Phil in FLL

    I know that Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of a gay magazine in Bangladesh, was hacked to death by al-Qaeda operatives in early April. Since it made news around the world, it would be interesting to hear how Hillary, Bernie and Trump would react if questioned about it. The Obama administration condemned the killing. It’s a weak excuse for bigotry to say that civil rights beyond U.S. borders are “none of our business.” That’s the line that anti-gay fundamentalists Christians peddle here.

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