Who Is Marvia Malik? Pakistan's First Transgender News Anchor

Viewers of Kohenoor News witnessed history on Friday when a transgender anchor delivered the newscast in Pakistan. It marked the first time someone who identified publicly as trans did so in the country, where transgender identity isn't widely accepted.

Marvia Malik was a model and is now also a television news anchor. She told BBC News that she was so excited when she got the anchor job that she had to stop herself from screaming. Malik studied journalism in school and said she cried when she got the news about her new role.

Many Pakistani transgender people aren't treated as equals and, like Malik, are sometimes pushed out of or disowned by their families. The Senate in Pakistan voted in favor of a bill earlier this month that, if passed into law, would protect transgender people and allow them to decide their own gender rather than requiring a medical examination. The bill would eliminate the examination process and also mean companies could no longer discriminate against trans people, Times of India reported.

Malik is bringing visibility to transgender people in a society in which they are frequently treated poorly. Her first broadcast received a lot of support on social media from people in Pakistan as well as from celebrities in the United States.

Actress Laverne Cox tweeted her congratulations and shared Malik's story on Tuesday.

Other newscasters and anchors chimed in on Twitter and welcomed Malik to the world of television news.

Welcome to the world of TV news #MarviaMalik !!
Great to have more women on TV!
Pakistan’s first #transgender news anchor :
“I’m here to change my community’s destiny”#women #tvnews #Pakistan https://t.co/go0wyIIm2A pic.twitter.com/yP7wzmGX3p

— Saima Mohsin (@SaimaMohsin) March 27, 2018

Malik posted a video to Twitter thanking viewers for their support and best wishes.

Marvia Malik from #KoheNoor wants to thank everyone for their love and best wishes.
May you have all the success in life Marvia, More power to you !#MarviaMalik #Anchor pic.twitter.com/h96U2AECvQ

— Ali Arif 🇵🇰 (@i_aliarif) March 24, 2018

The news station's owner told Voice of America that Malik was highly qualified for the position and not chosen based on her gender.