"Life as a hijra, as Pakistan's transgender minority is known, can be tough, said 21-year-old Alisha, recounting tales of extortion, sexual violence and predatory policemen. But of late things have started to improve.
The government has offered help, the hijras' plight has come into the public eye, and even the police are showing a little respect.
"They call us the chief justice's darlings," she said.
An unlikely revolution is stirring among Pakistan's transgender community. Over the past six months the supreme court has issued a series of ground-breaking judgments in favour of hijras, who have long lived under a cloud of disapprobation and discrimination.
Spurred by the forceful chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who was restored after countrywide protests last year, normally moribund authorities have been ordered to ensure hijras enjoy the same rights as other Pakistanis, in matters of inheritance, employment and election registration.
Police have been warned to cease harassment and intimidation. Pakistan's national database and registration authority, which issues ID cards, has been told to research a third option under the "sex" column."