Media Presentation of Political Participation of Transgender Community in Pakistan

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Memoona Ilyas, Awais H. Gillani, Ali Khan Ghumro, Rameez Ali Mahesar


Transgender people are the most overlooked and deprived communities globally, especially in a conservative society like Pakistan. Although the government of Pakistan has passed specific laws to impart equal rights to transgender community, peoples; conceptions about transgender remain unchanged. The literature shows mush less attention has been provided to transgender participation and media representation in the political affairs of democratic Pakistan.

The purpose of this study is to explore the media presentation of the political involvement of transgender community in Pakistani political sphere. Using news stories data of the daily Dawn (elite English Liberal newspaper) and the daily Jung (elite Urdu newspaper) from January to July 2018 and applying content analysis applying the lens of framing theory, the authors empirically investigate transgender community’s political representation in the elite print media of Pakistan. The authors find that the media treatment of transgender people profoundly influences peoples’ thoughts and perceptions about them.

Media treat transgender people as abnormal with no space to become equal citizens with usual participation in every walk of life especially the political life and participation in political affairs of the country. The paper fills the gap in the research literature by providing insight on the social and political status of transgender in Pakistani media which is fairly marginalized. Media in Pakistan is adding to the marginalization of the vulnerable transgender community. This work would also guide Pakistani media to improve reporting quality for transgender community of Pakistan.

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