Pakistan is mostly a country of Islamists or Islamic extremists. The country is still ruled by the Taliban mindset; it is a country where women are meant to wear the hijab or head scurf. In this land of bigotry a girl changed herself into a boy in Gaziabad, Pakistan. Now the girl, whose husband once left her, is looking for “his” own bride. Truly, “It’s a boy girl thing” in reality. A bold Pak girl became a boy erasing the gender taboo that clings to the world like dingy mist.
She was Nagina Akram; she was married for two years to Khaled who works in Spain. Khaled used to meet his sweet wife on six month breaks. Now, his fair beautiful wife has turned into handsome stout Usman, who runs a shop. Usman is now searching for a cutesy bride to marry. He wants to lead his own free life, ignoring the red-faced mullahs. He doesn’t care for society, he wants his own family.
Changing gender is still a taboo in this world. Even developed countries have yet to fully face up to gender issues. But Nagina, being a girl from Pakistan, where mens’ words are ultimate, made a giant step towards gender freedom for humanity. Yes, she was also married to someone and busy having a peaceful married life, but she never get pregnant after numerous tries. Her husband told her to visit the gynecologist and then she found out she was becoming a man. Her world of happy family shattered in no time and when her husband learned of this he severed all connections.
But brave Nagina listened to her heart and her doctors. They told her to have an operation in no time as her body was changing rapidly. So, she decided to be man, challenging the gender taboo of own country on a whole new level. Being a girl from Pakistan it took strength and vigor to battle against the bigotry and taboo. And she has apparently made history by becoming a boy.
In his words, “I was really shy at first but now, I’m quite matured one. I came to know more about gender changes of other countries. Now I shave daily like a man”. He has been given a new identity card in the name of Usman Akram. He also dresses like a boy and shyly he remarks, “I urinate like a boy.”
In countries like Pakistan, women mostly live under the curtain. A man decides everything there. When a couple can’t have children, it is automatically considered the woman’s fault. But that fault led Nagina here. She is now the face of freedom from taboo, bigotry and obscurantism.
Nagina has become Usman to win over gender odds. The slowly maturing society is accepting her but the Taliban can attack her. After all, extremists can’t accept people leading their own lives. Once they shot Malala as she dared to learn and now Nagina dared to be a boy.
The Taliban fear books; they may fear the desires of individuals. They want people to obey them in everything. It is not surprising, therefore, that Usman’s case will cause waves in Pakistan and across the world. A Pakistani girl accomplished something that most of the world still dares not to do; she has become a boy, ignoring the gender taboo. Gender change is not a taboo, not in the 21st century. To the world, it may seem like a mere story of gender change, but to him it means everything; a new life, yet to be written with a new bride.
An op/ed by Jayeeta Shamsul