Role of Tik Tok in Poverty Alleviation and Social Acceptability of Trans-genders in Pakistan


It is evident that the trans-genders in Pakistan are living below the poverty line and are seen begging and dancing on road signals and on wedding functions. The social divide in Pakistan forces them to struggle more with their due rights. Alisha, a transgender activist, and her other friends included Adnan, Sameer, Komal, and Ayesha, who were members of TAA - Trans Action Alliance, a group consisting of civil society members and trans people in the province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, were targeted and shot in 2016. But today, we can see many trans-genders using Tik Tok confidently and having a huge fan following on the app. They are often seen treated as celebrities in their videos and are found being followed as influencers at public places. Thus, we can see the Tik Tok app causing a shift in the changing perception and the acceptability of trans-genders in the society. In the context of existing and persistent discrimination against trans-genders, Tik Tok has become a platform for establishing social ties and sharing of personal life events for the individuals living on the margin of the society. Tik Tok is currently the most prevalent short video app on Google Play Store and is one of the most popular social media platforms among the youth, especially teenagers, all over the world. However, despite the trans-genders excessive use of the app, a lack of research persists on their identity development and lived experiences as well as their socio-economic status after constantly using the app. In this qualitative research, the researchers will examine the experiences of, at least 10, trans-genders who are using Tik Tok through one-on-one in-depth interviews. The research question guiding the study would be, ‘what role social media is playing in their lives to overcome poverty and improving their social status’ and ‘if they have been experiencing cyberbullying and verbal assaults in terms of discrimination on cyberspace or not’. The study will help explore the expected utilities and deterrents of Tik Tok for these trans-genders.