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Issa Fazli

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Full Name
Fareeha Fazli


Issa Fazli

Issa Fazli

Lahore, Pakistan

Known for
Faced persecution due to gender reassignment and religious conversion to Christianity

Issa Fazli, a paralegal, is a transgender male. Issa was born Fareeha in Lahore, Pakistan in 1968 to Anisa and Mian Fazli Mahmood.


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Family Background

Fazli’s father, Mian Fazli Mahmood, was a Judge of the Lahore High Court. Mian Fazli Elahi Khan, Fazli's paternal grandfather, was a government officer of Rajput descent. Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, Fazli's maternal grandfather, was a successful lawyer and he ran the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, Pakistan. Fazli's grandmother was Begum Saeeda Nazir Ahmad. His great-grandfather, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, was a prominent lawyer and an author and he founded the Woking Muslim Mission in the United Kingdom.

Fazli grew up in Lahore. His mother moved to the United States in the 1980s along with the family.

Religious Affiliation

Fazli was born into a religious family, but he did not agree with the practices. In 2000, he converted to Christianity. He has been baptized.


Fazli earned a B.A. in Political Science (pre-law track) from Rockford University, Illinois in 1994. He got his B.A in Political Science and Economics with a minor in French in 1988 from Kinnaird College Lahore, one of the leading liberal arts colleges in Pakistan. He attended the Sacred Heart School and the Convent of Jesus and Mary High School in Lahore. In 1984, he received his University of Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE) O-Level in Science.

At Rockford University, Fazli was student government Vice President and wrote for the university newspaper. He volunteered for charity activities. He also served as a peer counselor for ADAPT (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team) at Rockford University.

He also attended Teachers College, Columbia University, where he pursued an M.A. in English Education. He received his Legal Studies Certificate from CUNY Hunter College in New York.


Fazli is a paralegal. He has been working in the following areas of law: intellectual property, personal injury, criminal defense, and immigration. Fazli also taught in schools. He interned with Congressman John Cox of Illinois, 16th Congressional District in 1992.

Fazli worked as a staff reporter in Lahore and later he was a contributing writer for The Nation, an English daily newspaper.

Creative writing

Fazli started writing poetry in school. He was in high school when his poetry was published. His poetry and prose were also published in the Rockford University Journal of the Arts in the 1990s. His book of poetry was published in 2004. He has written and directed plays. Due to his playwriting, he was interviewed on PTV.

Gender Change and Conversion to Christianity

Fazli's family knew he was transgender. However, they refused to help him. His elder sisters, one of whom is a doctor, were opposed to his gender change. In the 1990s, they hid his travel documents to prevent him from returning to the United States. At that time, Fazli filed a police report with the local police against his family. From that time onwards he did not keep in touch with his family.

With the help of his friends he underwent gender reassignment in the United States and began his life as Issa. In 2000, he reestablished contact with his family to inform them of his gender reassignment, his marriage to Saadia, his childhood friend, and his conversion from Islam to Christianity. His family promised him a function to mark the new developments. Therefore, in 2000, Fazli and his wife traveled to Lahore hoping that the family had decided to accept the developments in his life. In reality, his parents were furious with him. Fazli's father used his influence in government to prevent him from leaving Pakistan from 2000 to 2005. Fazli and his wife escaped several attempts on their lives. They approached the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. With the help of different organizations, Fazli was able to get out of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In 2005, he came back to the United States. He now lives in the United States.


Issa Fazli Wikipedia

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