In 2013, members of the third sex in Bangladesh scored a victory when they were officially recognised as a separate gender. Now more good news comes their way: they’re about to be recruited as cops – traffic cops, that is.
‘Hijra’ is the Bangladeshi equivalent of a transgender in western cultures. Their numbers are estimated to be at over 10,000 and have long been discriminated against, often finding it difficult to find jobs.
‘Denied of employment opportunities, the Hijras are forced to eke out a living by doing things that are often not to our liking’, wrote ex-banker Syed Ashraf Ali in the Financial Express. ‘Many take to extortion of money by disrupting work or creating nuisance in public places. Some, however, perform at ceremonies while others turn to begging or sex work’.
— Harun ur Rashid (@Chhokanu) May 20, 2015
To combat this problem, the government is looking to hire them as traffic police as a form of rehab.
Since the 2012-2013 fiscal years, authorities have spent some 9 crore taka – about $AU1.15 million – on Hijra skills development programs. Many are applauding this move by the government, noting how this will improve gender equality in the country.
‘Recruiting Hijras in the police department is a small but an important step for the country to become more humanitarian’, said blogger Arif Jebtik. ‘At the first phase the project might not be successful, hijas will face lots of obstacle [sic] to gain their social status, there will be disappointments between colleagues. People may not be take them seriously [sic]. But I hope overcome all barriers and it will turn out to be great’.