Main | Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bangladesh Recognizes Third Gender

Bangladesh will officially recognize members of its hirja community as having their own gender. From the Bangladeshi news outlet, Daily Star:
The government today approved a proposal of the social welfare ministry to identify “Hijra” as another form of sex and to use its sexual identity in different government’s documentation like passports and national ID cards. The approval came at the weekly cabinet meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat. Hijra community welcomed the government’s decision saying it would help reducing their social discrimination. Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain said the approval has been given for the overall welfare of the Hijra people. He said there are 10,000 Hijra people in Bangladesh who are neglected in the society. He said the Hijra people face discrimination in education, housing, health, and in other fundamental fields and there were no identity of their sex in passport, national ID cards, among others.
There is disagreement in the hijra community about the move.
Omar Kuddus, a Bangladeshi LGBT activist, told GSN he feared the possible risks over identifying hijras as a separate gender. "In Bangladesh already, there is a lot of discrimination," he said. "Many hijras earn their living by people giving them money because they think they’re going to curse them otherwise. Many also work as sex workers. By passing this policy, the Government could end up be identifying these people as targets for persecution and discrimination."

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