There is said to be an estimated 15,000 transgender people or “hijras”, as they’re called locally, in Bangladesh, although some sources say the count sits at 1.5 million. Transgender was established as a third gender by the Bangladeshi government in 2013 and the community was given the right to vote in 2019. Despite the official recognitions, transgender people in Bangladesh are discriminated against on a daily basis.
The discrimination and mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community in Bangladesh is nothing new. Many transgender individuals are kicked out of their homes, cut off by family and friends, bullied and mistreated from a young age. Even on the streets, they are ridiculed and judged by passersby. Aside from the social exclusion, or maybe as a result of it, they are also not given the proper education they deserve, which results in many remaining unemployed well into adulthood. Due to these difficult circumstances, their means of earning a living are very limited. Many have been able to make a living from singing and dancing in various celebrations, but many others have had to resort to begging or prostitution.
Earlier in 2020, the construction of a religious school or “madrassa” specifically for transgender people was commenced, marking a step towards breaking this cycle of inequity towards the transgender society.
“Dawatul Quran Third Gender Madrassa” was built to teach the transgender population religious and mandatory subjects that will help them secure jobs in the future. It has no age restrictions and currently sits at containing 150 pupils, most of whom are adults. It is a privately-funded institution, financed through the aid of late businessman Ahmad Ferdous Bari Chowdhury, who left part of his wealth to educate the transgender crowd.
The school was started by a group of preachers led by Abdur Rahman Azad, who were already providing education to a few transgender groups in Dhaka. It is located in the Kamrangirchar area at the outskirts of Dhaka. Classes were said to have begun on the 7th of November, 2020.
The opening of this school opens a door of hope for transgender people to flourish and thrive in their surroundings and to eventually lead happy and successful lives.
Images Collected From Google.
Contributed By Tanzeem Hossain