Under the wise leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has, for many years now, been committed to the ideals of inclusion and plurality.
As a testament to that, in November of 2013, with the approval of our honourable prime minister, Bangladesh officially recognised members of the Hijra (transgender) community as a third gender, so that today, Nadira Begum of Rangpur is able to make history as the first third-gender candidate to run for public office in Bangladesh.
This watershed decision was intended to help curb discrimination against transgender people and allow them to live a life of dignity, as every individual is entitled to.
And it has clearly helped the Hijra community, as Nadira’s ambitions would not have been possible otherwise.
A social worker by profession, Nadira is highly popular among voters because of her kindly nature and her dedication to helping people everywhere and anywhere she can.
Nadira’s story is an inspiration to anyone with a big dream and many obstacles to overcome. Abandoned as a child by her family, Nadira was later raised by her uncle. She eventually put herself through college and earned a Master’s degree from Rajshahi University.
It takes immense determination and strength of character for an individual to rise above the kind of discrimination and rejection that all transgender people have to experience in their lives, and then persevere, against all odds, to serve the public and contribute to society.
And that is the kind of public servant that Bangladesh needs more of.