Hijras now a separate gender
Mohosinul Karim

They will be referred to as Hijras in both English and Bangla

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    Photo- AFP

Hijras, who are neither male nor female, from now on will be considered as a separate gender in Bangladesh and will get priority for education and other rights.

The decision was made at a Monday cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Cabinet Secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan briefed the media after the meeting.

Journalists asked Musharraf whether the spelling of Hijra would be spelled with a "z or a j."

"With a j. They will be referred as Hijras in both English and Bangla language. Any other translations in English is misleading," the cabinet secretary said.

There are currently 10,000 Hijras living in the country he said, referring to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Social Welfare.

This has led the government to consider them as a separate gender alongside the existing male and female sexes, he said.

Hijras are already enlisted as voters in Bangladesh.

The move comes as the current government’s term draws to a close.

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