Alia Khannum is an LGBTIQ* Activist from Islamic Republic of Pakistan. She started her journey of self-realization and community work in 2010. As being a person associating yourself with LGBQ* and advocating for their rights is illegal in Pakistan, she worked voluntarily to protect her identity. Her work started with an underground organization which was providing safe space for LGBTIQ*people in Pakistan. The purpose of this organization was creating a safe space of expression, unity and a community. Then she expanded her network to a broader social level to create a stronger community in her hometown.
Alia represents Transgender community in several workshops and conferences related to the LGBTIQ* in Germany. She actively participated in different meetings at local level for building a support network among LGBTIQ* community members. Issues related to sexuality, gender identity, religion and discrimination at different levels of the society were addressed. The groups she worked with in Pakistan, tried to come up with solutions while living in Pakistan and how to handle different situations in Pakistan.
Alia came out to her family as a transwoman many times over the years but she couldn’t live her life openly as a transwoman in Pakistan due to family and peer pressure. But during all this time she kept trying to live her life as much authentic as possible. She faced difficulties but nonetheless kept her hopes high and tried to fight for her freedom of expressing herself. Unfortunately, her efforts to live a life of a woman were never fulfilled in Pakistan. She was always faced with social and peer pressure.
In 2012 she came to Germany to pursue her further studies and live her life openly as a transwoman. But even in Germany she faced hardships and many hurdles in the beginning. Later, she started visiting local LGBTIQ* groups and started living openly as a transwoman. This gave her more courage to be herself and make her dreams come true. This time she came out to her family as a transwoman once again and her family accepted that. But they are afraid of extended family as they might ostracize the entire family. Her mother lives in a constant fear of Alia being outed to her immediate relatives.
She is currently engaged in many different initiatives and organizations concerning LGBTIQ* refugees and migrants. She is among few transwomen who are actively engaged for the rights of LGBTIQ* refugees and migrants. She raises her voice on all platforms possible.
- Alia Khannum