Pakistani transgender women at a 2008 protest
Two transgender women have been killed while another was raped by a group of armed men in Pakistan.
AFP reported that the attack occurred in the Swabi District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Monday.
The women were on their way home in the early hours of the morning after performing at a wedding party when they were accosted by the men in a field.
After the women fought back, the men opened fire, killing two of the victims and wounding the other.
The surviving woman was abducted and gang raped by four of the attackers. She was later released.
Six men have been arrested in connection with the murders and rape. According to the police, they were “fans” of the women’s performances.
“These men were fond of transgenders and used to regularly attend their music and dance shows,” an official said.
While homosexuality remains illegal in Pakistan, transgender people, known as hijras, have a certain degree of acceptance in society as a third sex.
Transgender individuals, who often make a living as entertainers, are protected under the law from discrimination in employment and in the provision of services.
In 2012, the Supreme Court in Pakistan ruled that transgender people are entitled to the same rights as every other citizen, including the right of inheritance.