Bangladesh-Third gender hijra groups hold country’s first ever Pride march

575

At least 1,000 transgender hijras led Bangladesh’s first ever Pride march on Monday, marking one year since the government recognised them as a third gender.

Last November, in a landmark decision, the government in Bangladesh approved a proposal of the social welfare ministry to identify “Hijra” as a third possible gender identity.

Hijra, often subsumed under the trans umbrella in the West, is a South Asian feminine gender identity. It is sometimes – but not always – adopted by intersex people.

The Pride event, which took place in Dhaka, featured numerous groups wearing colourful saris and carrying banners which read: “The days of stigma, discrimination and fear are over”.

Sonali, a 25-year-old hijra, told AFP: “I never dreamt that I would see this day in my life.

“We are stigmatised everywhere. We are discriminated against. We are laughed at just because we do not feel like a man or woman. But today is different. We feel like we’re normal human beings.”

Pakistan allowed hijra a third gender category back in 2011.

In September last year, gay rights groups criticised the government in Bangladesh for refusing to decriminalise same-sex relationships, despite recommendations by the United Nations to do so.

SHARE