Nayab Ali becomes the first Pakistani transgender person to win Gala Award

DUBLIN: Nayyab Ali has been announced at a ceremony in Dublin, Ireland as the recipient of the GALAS International Activist Award. The award, organised by the National X Federation of Ireland (NXF), recognises the contribution of an international activist, from outside of Ireland, who works tirelessly to promote the full equality and inclusion of gender minorities people in society.

Nayyab is a trans woman from Pakistan, an acid attack survivor, trans activist and the founder and chairperson of the All Pakistan Transgender Election Network. She also manages the ‘Khawaja Sira Community Centre’ in Okara, which offers a basic literacy and numeracy programme, vocational training, life skills education and driving classes for the transgender community. In 2018, Nayyab was one of the four transgender candidates who ran for Pakistan’s general elections and the first to do it with political affiliations in Muslim world. She has been a member of the Transgender Task Force reviewing the Transgender Rights Protection bill, and has contributed to several other initiatives reviewing laws and policies affecting transgender people. Nayyab is also co-chair of Ending Violence Against Women & Girls Alliance Pakistan, the first trans woman to chair any alliance of women in the Muslim world.

The ceremony honouring the GALAS winners was held on 8 February at the round room in Mansion House, Dublin, Ireland – a site of historical significance as the venue to host the first Irish Parliament in 1919. The award was received by Mr Andrea Deputy Executive Director of Front line defenders on her behalf, as she couldnt able to attend the ceremony due to her health.

Along with Nayyab, the nominees for the GALAS International Activist Award were Syinat Sultanalieva from Kyrgyzstan, Zhanar Sekerbayeva from Kazakhstan and Gilmara Cunha from Brazil. The GALAS International Activist Award is sponsored by the NXF, Front Line Defenders, Amnesty International Ireland and the Irish Council on Civil Liberties.
Caroline Keane, NXF Chairperson said:

“Nayyab Ali not only has played an important role in empowering and building the capacity of trans people in Pakistan, but she has also taken the courageous step of bringing her struggle for justice to the political level, fighting for legislative reform in a challenging context.

We stand in solidarity with Nayyab and the nominees Gilmara, Syinat and Zhanar. We salute their unwavering determination to bring about positive change for the gender minority community in their countries.”

In a video message broadcast at the ceremony, Nayyab Ali said:
“It is a great honour for me to have been recognised for my commitment to make Pakistan a safe society for gender and sexual minorities. Being the first Pakistani transgender to receive the GALAS International Activist Award I appreciate this initiative as such international endorsements help our community to gain recognition.”