‘Vote for X’ Based On Trans Rights Activist Nayyab Ali’s Life All Set To Hit Your Youtube Screens

‘Vote for X’ Based On Trans Rights Activist Nayyab Ali’s Life All Set To Hit Your Youtube Screens
DAP’s Chalta Phirta Doc Fest continues acquainting Pakistanis with their own people and culture. Their upcoming documentary, which is to be screened online on the 19th of September, is Tazeen Bari’s “Vote for X”. “Vote for X” takes us to Okara and introduces us to the leading transgender activist, Nayyab Ali, who started her socio-political career in 2018 when she first contested the general elections, marking the entry of Pakistani transgender community in the candidacy.

Amalgamating the societal attitudes towards the transgender community and the problems in Pakistan’s political culture, “Vote for X” promises to be a documentary that is both informative and heart-wrenching. While Nayyab Ali’s struggle as a political person will make its entry around the mid of the film, the first half will narrate the harsh reality of the community’s “otherization” by both the family and society – of Nayyab Ali in particular.

Tazeen Bari, the lady behind the documentary, has been working on the Pakistani minorities’ struggles to come forward and represent their respective groups since 2013, when she covered the election campaign of Veeru Kohli, a Hindu woman from rural Hyderabad who contested against Sherjeel Memon.

“What motivated me to go for these issues was the perseverance of the minorities in upholding true democracy despite the visible cunning practices in the entire political process. Seeing people like Veeru Kohli and Nayyab have always made me realize that these people who hail from the lower middle-class understand the problems of the underprivileged class in a much better way and can therefore eradicate them if given proper representation. They actually do a lot of social work in their respective localities and hence, are brave enough to stand against political giants.”

Coming towards “Vote for X”, Tazeen Bari tells that she wanted to do a documentary on a similar format and get in touch with another minority representative, as a result of which she started searching for such candidates during the 2018 elections, and met Nayyab Ali.

“I right away knew that this year’s elections are highly significant, for it was for the first time that people with the identity X on their ID cards were being given a chance to cast their votes. Besides, when I met Nayyab and listened to her inspirational story of being marginalized, of being attacked with acid and still standing strong enough to contest the elections, I realized that I needed to send the story across. I then went to Okara and spent the entire time, starting from the campaign and ending at the results, with Nayyab. Although she didn’t win, she never lost her courage and worked so hard for her community and for other people as well that I was left awestruck.”

Talking about the challenges while making this documentary, Tazeen Bari tells that the biggest difficulty was to tell Nayyab’s story as much honestly as possible so that it may not look like a biased or inauthentic viewpoint coming from someone who is not a transgender herself. It is for the same reason that the audience will get to see Nayyab speaking herself for the most part, telling every detail, good and bad, on her own in front of the camera, starting from her childhood experiences to facing an identity crisis and eventually turning into a motivational, hardworking person.

Although Nayyab Ali is now a known name in Pakistan, acting as a transgender rights defender and the chairperson of the All Pakistan Transgender Election Network, those who want to know more about her will be able to see her life-story filmed in “Vote for X” on the 19th of September, 2020 on the YouTube channel of DAP (Documentary Association of Pakistan) at 6 PM.

The author is an M.Phil scholar with an interest in indigenous art, culture and literature. He can be reached at m.ali_aquarius85@yahoo.com