Hijras, a South Asian feminine gender identity that some people who are born male or intersex adopt, will now be considered as a separate gender in Bangladesh, allowing them to identify themselves as hijra on official documents such as passports.
The country's prime minister announced the government's decision on 11 November, 2013, on the heels of Germany's announcement that it will begin to offer a third gender option on birth certificates.
There are currently at least 10,000 hijras living in the country. The decision is a victory for hijras, a type of third gender who identify as neither male nor female, throughout the country. These individuals experience abuse of their rights from family and society at large, such as being forced to live together in secluded communities. Hijra organizations have demanded official recognition as a third gender.
Several netizens applauded the move.
Hazrat Binoy Bhodroe (@hazratb9bhodroe) pointed out on Twitter that the government's decision is a big step:
হিজড়াদের রাষ্ট্রের লৈংগিক স্বীকৃতি বিরাট অর্জন, গ এহেড বাংলাদেশ :)
— hazrat binoy bhodroe (@hazratb9bhodroe) November 11, 2013
Hijras gets state recognition. It’s huge achievement. Go ahead Bangladesh
Sabrina Haque (@sab918) hoped that it will be the end of gender discrimination:
— Sabrina Haque (@sab918) November 11, 2013
Smita Gaith (@smitagaith) tweeted:
— Smita Gaith (@smitagaith) November 11, 2013
Blaque Mamba (@Snoozfest) mentioned:
— Blaque Mamba (@Snoozfest) November 11, 2013
ireen sultana (@ireen_sl) praised the change:
একদম শেষ সময়ে হলেও এমন একটি পদক্ষেপকে চূড়ান্ত রূপ দেয়ার জন্য সরকারকে আন্তরিক সাধুবাদ। হিজড়াদের ‘লিঙ্গ… http://t.co/0SfYP9GEJT
— ireen sultana (@ireen_sl) November 11, 2013
Congratulation to the government for this decision at the very last moment (of their tenure).