“I Want to Live With My Head Held High” Abuses in Bangladesh’s Legal Recognition of Hijras Languages

On Dec 23, 2016 Human Rights Watch reported: In recent years the government of Bangladesh has taken important steps toward acknowledging and protecting hijras, but the implementation of promising decrees and programs has exposed hijras to serious abuses.

On January 26, 2014, the Bangladesh cabinet announced the recognition of a third gender category in its gazette with a single-sentence: “The Government of Bangladesh has recognized the Hijra community of Bangladesh as a Hijra sex.” This circular represented a significant step toward securing a range of human rights for Bangladesh’s hijras—people who, assigned “male” at birth, identify as feminine later in life and prefer to be recognized as hijra or a third gender.

This promising move, however, was undermined by what came next. Bangladesh does not have a policy outlining the measures individuals must take to legally change the gender marker on their official documents from “male” to “hijra,” and there is no clarity about who qualifies as a hijra. Absent such guidelines, officials involved in implementing the hijra circular have acted on their personal understandings of what hijra means.

Read more at Abuses in Bangladesh’s Legal Recognition of Hijras | HRW

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