Designer Maria B has yet again decided to court controversy. The fashion maven took to social media to disperse more of her opinions about transgender communities, because she knows them better than the experts from the community, right? On Friday, the face behind the fashion brand ‘Maria B’ tweeted how the biggest threats to women universities were “biological men” aka transgender women, who were invading women’s bathrooms. She called for a ban on giving admission to transpeople in women’s colleges.
“Women Universities in Pakistan are under attack. Biological men are now being given admission in our safe spaces for women. Female bathrooms are now being invaded by biological men who feel like women….As it is we live in a Conservative society where parents hesitate sending their daughters for higher education. Forcing biological men into women’s universities under the garb of transgenders will be a great disservice to women’s education. Watch how parents will start stopping their daughters from getting education bcz there are MEN PRETENDING TO BE WOMEN in the universities.”
The fashion designer went on to slam women rights organisations like Aurat March for “not standing up for women’s rights” and “shutting women’s voices”.
However, reports from universities all around Pakistan would disprove Maria B’s take that the transgender community is the biggest reason why parents are refraining their daughters from going to universities. Because from all the recent cases of sexual harassment and rape reports from colleges, we can’t help but deduce that the majority of the perpetuators behind these assaults are men.
Take for instance, the recent case in Ghazi University where a young woman complained of being sexually assaulted and threatened by two male professors who were black mailing her younger sister.
Or the matter of the ex-head security officer at Islamia University in Bahawalpur, who was caught in July with multiple illicit videos of women and female staff on his phone. He was allegedly black mailing women with threats to leak the videos.
In June, another male employee at King Edward Medical College was caught making videos of women in washrooms, an action which launched protests as several women revealed they had consistently filed complaints with the KEMU administration about the pressence of male staff members in female bathrooms.
In not one of these stories is it mentioned that a transgender woman was caught harassing or black mailing a woman. However recently, reports circulated on social media of a transgender activist who was forcibly converted in a rehabilitation centre Focus Life, where she detailed reports of being tortured, sexually harassed and abused for her gender identity.
So there you have it folks, it is not transgender women who are making other women feel unsafe in universities, but it is the way institutes turn a blind eye to male privilege, sexual harassment, and protection of harassers that keeps women feeling unsafe in these places.