Engaging with University Key to Advancing Rights of Hijra and Transgender People in Bangladesh.
“I am so happy and excited that today we invited Bandhu for a discourse lecture on hijra and transgender issues in our university and we have waited for so long and finally discussion is started” said, Dr. Bikash Saud Anchary, Head of Architecture Faculty, Bangladesh University.
In 2nd September 2015, the momentum has started to talk with universities, Bandhu Social Welfare Society and Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre organized a Discourse lecture with Architecture faculty, Bangladesh University. Once upon a time it is taboo issue, to talk about transgender issues in university. Finally the discussion has started in Bangldesh University. Bangladesh University has invited Bandhu to talk about the third gender issue in their campus for their better understanding of students and teachers. In this discussion more than 100 persons were present including teacher, student and university staff. The discussion started with introducing lecture by the Dr. Bikash Saud Anchary, Head of Architecture Faculty, Bangladesh University. Then a short presentation was given by Mr. Mohammad Fhakrul Islam, Coordinator Knowledge Management and M&E. He gave an overview about BSWS and Gender and sexuality Resource Centre activities. After the presentation Mohammad Rofiqul Islam Royal, Asst. Manager “Training & counseling” described the method of discussion and briefly shared the status of transgender in the society.
The next session started with storytelling by sexual minority’s people. The discussion is the most important part of the discourse lecture. In this discussion respresentaqtive of sexual minority people were present and they described their life story, stigma discrimination towards sexual minority and challenges they are facing in family, society, educational institution work place and finally in state.
“When I went to doctor for my treatment in a popular medical centre in Dhaka through pre-appointment, the doctor denied me to give treatment and he just shouted who allow you to enter his chamber.” said a third gender representative , It was also added that while they want to use public bus, no one allow them in bus. Hijras face prejudice and discrimination at every turn. Marked out by their sexual difference, they are hounded out of schools, and hence lack the necessary qualifications to get proper jobs. It’s almost impossible for them to become educated, to get a passport, or even to open a bank account.
“I was working for multinational company in Bangladesh but I have to lose my job due to my identity” said a transgender representative. It was also added that family member always treat her as a patient, relatives always ignored her in a social gathering, hospital ignored her identity and mass people use bulling to her for her identity, dress up and hair cut.
“My parents wouldn’t even take me to any family event. I used to explain the difference to my family: I have the body of a male and the mind of a girl. What can I do?” Said a representative from young MSM community. Always they have to face discrimination for their body language, needs and desire in family, society, hospital and work place.
Finally the first session end followed by a documentary film “Will this Change” developed but Bandhu. After the film show screening, questionnaire and opinion session started.
Q. Every man has dream, so what is your dream?
In reply a community person said that they want to live in the society with dignity which is precondition of Human Rights.
Q. Why you don’t live at home with your family?
In reply hijra representative said that we want to live with family but when family and society don’t accept us in the family and society due to my hijra identity we abandon our family and society. Only family and social acceptance of hijra can open door ato live with family.
Recommendations from students and teacher:
- Transgender to be considered as a human being in the society
- Both organization Bangladesh University and BSWS will look for more collaboration in future
- Young researcher from BU required support to complete his theses from BSWS
- Student can highlight transgender in the society positively.
- BSWS will delivery some reading documents to BD such as SAPANDAN
- BSWS will invite to students and teachers to be attend the learning circle
- Hijra community can start business and product can be promoted by the student
- Gender diversity can be included national curriculum
- To create employment opportunities for Hijra and student can raise the issues.
Finally the discussion end through a hopeful speech from Mr. Dr. Bikash Saud Anchary and he committed that they are always with sexual minority people to ensure their rights and dignity in the society.