First transgender elected as rural council head in Bangladesh

In a sign of changing times, a transgender person, Nazrul Islam Ritu, has been elected as the chairperson of the Union Parishad - a rural council - of Trilochanpur Union of Kaliganj in Jhenaidha district of Bangladesh

Dec 02, 2021
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Nazrul Islam Ritu, has been elected as the chairperson of the Union Parishad in Bangladesh

In a sign of changing times, a transgender person, Nazrul Islam Ritu, has been elected as the chairperson of the Union Parishad - a rural council - of Trilochanpur Union of Kaliganj in Jhenaidha district of Bangladesh. Ritu is the first transgender to be elected as chairperson in the Union Parishad elections of Bangladesh. Union Parishad is the smallest administrative unit of a local government in Bangladesh.  

Earlier, another person from the transgender community, Pinki Khatun, was elected as the Vice-Chairperson of Kotchandpur upazila in Jhenaidah. Shahida Begum, a transgender was the first person to be elected as a member of Maguraghona Parishad in Khulna district, local media reported. 

Bangladesh's government recognized the transgender community in 2014. They have been given the right to vote and stand in elections. The government provides a monthly allowance to more than 7000 transgenders in the country. It announced incentives for companies that employ the transgender community in its 2021 budget. However, they suffer from social stigma and discrimination and remain one of the most marginalized and discriminated groups in a deeply conservative country whose government has in recent years taken some bold and progressive social decisions in a bid to strive for a more inclusive society.(SAM)

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