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In the previous months, there has been enough talk about the trans agenda that has taken over our screens with the release of Joyland. We had the serial Ankahi giving a cheeky thumbs up to Joyland, and now the latest episode of the popular USAID-funded serial Sar-e-Rah! Wait, what is USAID doing here? Read on!

Sar-e-Rah deserves accolades for breaking stereotypes and supporting characters struggling against societal norms. The recent episode depicts the struggles of an intersex child. With an extremely toxic stepmother and an unconditionally supportive father, the carefully curated, tear-jerking plot with its heartwarming dialogue delivery hits all the right chords with the audience. Nabeel Zafar seems to be the father every child deserves.

However, dig deeper, and you will see some very problematic threads seamlessly weaved in the tapestry. The term transgender and intersex are being used interchangeably by the drama team. This is furthering the already prevalent misconceptions about transgenders and intersex. This confusion can easily be used to manipulate impressionable audiences and to propagate a certain agenda.

Let’s understand the terms first. Intersex is a person who is born with an anomaly such as ambiguous genitalia. The ratio of all such people in the whole wide world is actually just 0.018%. Now, this is a natural occurrence, and it can be resolved through medical examinations, which fixates the person in either the male or female group depending upon his or her dominant organs. In Islam, we call them khansa (intersex).

Whereas this transgenderism is a slap in the face of religion, ethics, modern-day science and technology. It claims that gender is not binary, it is self-determined and that you can be whatever you like. So, you can choose to be a male, a female, a homosexual, a gender-fluid, a cat, a dog or even a unicorn for that matter.
So, trans actually refers to a person who transitions his/her gender identity that does not align with their biological sex.

The most popular dialogues in the recent episode show Sarang’s supportive father encouraging him to adopt the gender that he wants when he grows up. The seemingly innocuous dialogues are very problematic considering the fact that gender cannot be self-determined, even for an intersex person. These dialogues are confusing and exploiting intersex (khansa) children, rather than supporting them. Gender is not fluid, nor self-determined, neither in Islam, nor in science. Gender is binary, in spite of the very rare anomalies, in which case medical science and Islamic fiqh both have crystal clear guidelines on which gender is assigned. Khansa children and their families must be supported, respected and accepted. They must also have access to the right medical care and guidance. It is so wrong and sad to mislead them to push your own agenda.

Let us view all this in the backdrop of the problematic “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018” and the amendments approved by the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights this month. The committee unanimously agreed that Islamic law categorically provides that gender cannot be derived from internal feeling or internal sense of being, but instead may solely be derived from physical appearance, genital attributes and congenital ambiguities. The Committee decided to replace the word ‘Transgender’ in the 2018 Act with ‘Khunsa (Intersex)’ and defined ‘Khunsa (Intersex) Person’ as a person who has a mixture of male and female genital features or congenital ambiguities. Moreover, the Committee agreed on the constitution of a medical board comprising six experts at disrict level, which includes a Male General Surgeon, a Female Gynaecologist, a Plastic Surgeon, an Endocrinologist or Geneticist, a Urologist and a Psychologist. Furthermore, the Committee maintained that a Khunsa (intersex) person shall have to get himself/herself registered in NADRA as per the certification made by the medical board.

While Sarang’s father is very supportive, Sar-e-Rah could have done better to take it one step further and depict him as someone empowered enough to provide the medical care and religious guidelines to his son to live a dignified life. While trans activists are fighting for their so-called right to self-perceived gender identity, we need to raise awareness about the right way forward for intersex individuals- a clear path that is supported by Islam, by medical science and by the law of the land. The last thing we need to do is push these vulnerable souls down a rabbit hole of Satanic whims and desires.

A question worth considering is: how does the consistent appearance of such a theme suddenly coincide with the LGBTQ global push? Let’s not be too naive to understand how shrewdly and systematically media is used to steer public opinion. By gaining sympathy of the common public, acceptance of LGBTQ is the very obvious goal of such productions.

It is said that if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will jump out immediately, but if you put it in room-temperature water and gradually bring it to a boil, it will stay in the pot until it dies. We see something similar happening to us all the time. We have a strong tendency to slowly get used to unacceptable things that would shock us otherwise.

So guys, with a multi-million dollar budget, USAID and the likes are subtly and gradually raising the LGBTQ (non-binary, self-perceived gender) temperature on us. Will we stay alert and protect ourselves or will we let our morals, values, modesty and faith die a painful death? Frog or human, you choose!

Living in a world of fitnah and chaos, it’s time that we start to analyse things with a lens that provides a holistic view – a bit less on the surface and a lot more under the roots to understand the bigger picture. It’s time that we look beyond the bounds of the media industry, influencer culture, trends and hype to start viewing things as they truly are. May Allah (SWT) grant us the ability to reach out to the ultimate truths – the truths that aren’t the creativities of this world or those in it but of the One to Whom it all belongs!

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