PESHAWAR: Paro, a handsome transgender born in a far-flung village of Swat, has faced a tough life but recently she has started business to paddle her own canoe. “Most people in the streets and markets stare at me with lusting gestures,” she says. “One day in my village, some crooks followed me on bike, and I escaped and ran towards my home but my father, who saw this, slapped and kicked me when he entered home. It is the female family members who have been kind to me,” Paro added. She said the society is no more alive; it is dead. “The inhabitants of this region don’t respect art and artist,” Paro said while wiping off tears falling from her cheeks. She said she is a dancer and attached to this field for the last 12 years. But her family disowned her due to her profession as she said the conservative society doesn’t let her to live a peaceful and respectable life. Paro shifted to another house in Gulbahar and she has started Transgender Boutique, the first of its kind in the history of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The prices of her handmade dresses range between Rs 2500 to Rs 5000. “This is not only a boutique but it is a learning institute for transgender as well. I wish could transfer this art to next generations and I hope making dress will be an alternate art with my community to safeguard themselves in bad times,” Paro said. According to reports there are up to 6000 transgender only in Peshawar district; in last twenty months 46 transgender were killed across the province and more than 300 were harassed, tortured and raped in different towns of KP. Taimur Kamal, rights activist, said transgender people are peace-loving artists and entertainers. He further elaborated that transgender should be treated as equal members of the society. For a decade, performing art is on decline rather it is on the verge of destruction. Once Peshawar was hub of cultural activities like paintings, sketches, sculpting, etcused and famous Nishtar Hall and other places of the city were providing space to artists. “I am hopeless and I am afraid that the situation might be more miserable in coming days and the reason is obvious the society is stagnant and negative as a whole,” Paro said. “Majority of the population considers transgender as sex workers, gays and prostitutes and not as dancers and entertainers,” said a journalist, Nabi Jan. He criticised the provincial government for hollow slogans about protection of transgenders’ rights, but doing little in practical. “I love dancing and will continue it as hobby only in private and known people’s functions,” Paro said. She said that about two weeks ago she was beaten in a function in the jurisdiction of Hashtnagri Police Station. “I have registered First Information Report with the police against the culprits but to no avail,” she added. “In my whole career, I have seen that no-one supported transgender but only media sometimes raises voice for them,” she added. To a question, the tearful Paro said that she missed her mother too much and had not seen her since long. “I especially miss my family members on Eid days because these are the times a family gets together”. “I am now hopeful about my boutique and I am sure Peshawarites would support us. Our dresses are purely handmade and comparatively cheaper in prices,” Paro said.