The hermaphrodites and transgender people have been the most marginalised segment in our society, having a serious lack of basic rights as human beings. They were not recognised as citizens even a few years ago, thus faced all possible discrimination just because of their gender identity. However, the scenario has started changing, though on a small scale, with a legislative change that recognises them as ‘third gender’ and ensures their rights to vote. A couple of months ago, a dedicated madrasah has been established for the people who are often stigmatised as a social curse. To help remove the social stigma, our prime minister has allocated houses for some third gender people in Sirajganj like other poor people of the country under the Ashrayan Project. At presently, a law namely ‘Hijra Protection Act’ is being drafted to ensure third gender people’s social safety and rights to live with family, thanks to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Bandhu Social Welfare Society for preparing the draft.
We expect that the law, along with some other recent initiatives, would help these marginalised people get rid of their never-ending mental agony and financial as well as social problems to some extent. We also believe such steps will lead the masses to change their attitude to the community who have been facing discrimination due to a reason they have no control over.It is undeniable that the hijras are the poorest of the poor and the most exploited of the exploited. They are in such a state where people neither feel woe for them nor help them earn a dignified livelihood. People often hesitate to offer Hijras work or aid because of the long-standing social stigma. Society creates such a strong false-notion that bars even the parents from keeping their third-gender child with them.
This initiative is surely a ray of hope for Hijra people. But it is the society that has to change its mindset and welcome these people into the mainstream to take this segment of the people forward. And to achieve this target, there is no other option but to make the mass people aware of what challenges society will face if we fail to do so. We must remember that whom we leave behind now will pull us from behind in the future.