The 7th Pakistan Youth Congress (PYC) was held in Islamabad in January 2017. Initiated by Drug Free Pakistan Foundation (DFPF), PYC is one of the biggest youth development project for Pakistani youth. Every year, since 2009, youngsters from all over Pakistan participated in this project. They interact with each other and engage in efficient learning activities that facilitate their knowledge of indispensable skills; they are also equipped with invaluable knowledge on life skills, peace and harmony, active citizenship, community development, disaster management, child abuse, volunteerism and substance use harm reduction.
Representing Pireh Male Health Society, Executive Director Wajid Ali acted as one of the key speakers of the Congress. His lecture discussed how sexual orientation- and gender-based discrimination and inequality lead to an increase of structural violence within the society. He explained that dogmatism and conservatism create the environment where human rights aren’t protected, nor uphold, neither celebrated. They are downplayed, denounced and discouraged. Even though the human rights have seen three different generations globally, they are still not understood and accepted everywhere.
In his lecture, Wajid brought examples on how discrimination among Pakistani emerge in multiple levels, on the basis of caste and creed, age and looks, religious and political beliefs, yet the worst type of discrimination happens on the basis of sex and gender – due to the absence or lack of redress action from the authorities and/or justification from the majority of the society. The women already are treated as second grade citizens due to the patriarchal mindset of the men. Whereas any type of deviancy in the rigidly established gender roles is met with opposition and/or criticism.
The abuse towards trans communities is prevalent, as Wajid’s keynote went on. The basic and fundamental rights of the members of trans Pakistani communities is often stripped off due to the “discomfort” felt by the surrounding; and the State, unfortunately, doesn’t do much about it.
Heard by more than a hundred youth audiences, Wajid Ali’s discourse is hoped to be planting a seed that will build the country’s progressive environment in the future – an environment where all people are respected equally, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
Under Multi-country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme (MSA), in which APCOM acts as the Grant’s regional sub-recipient, Pireh Male Health Society is one of the national sub-recipients in Pakistan. Learn more about MSA and the community organisations involved in it here.