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Trans women in Bangladesh demand political voice

Trans women in Bangladesh demand political voice

Transgender women in Bangladesh are calling for an allocated seat in parliament to speak out for their rights.

The demand was made at the launch of a new organization called Bangladesh Transgender Welfare Foundation (BTWF) at Dhaka National Press Club last Saturday (1 June).

‘Unfortunately, we have been deprived of many opportunities and benefits provided by the government,’ said BTWF president Abida Sultana Mitu, Dhaka Tribune reports.

‘As a result, we are living in a dire state, since society thinks we are not capable of living on our own. If necessary support is given to us, we could also contribute in the national economy.’

As well as political representation in the national parliament and local government (Union Parishads), BTWF’s eight-point manifesto included ensuring inheritance rights, access to education, employment, housing and healthcare.

Mitu also called for a survey of the estimated 1.2 million trans people in Bangladesh to inform how to best empower the community.

BTWF was formed after nearby Pakistan recently allowed transgender candidates to stand for election for the first time.

In a state election in Karnataka in neighboring India last month two transgender candidates attracted over 400 votes each.