Bangladesh may be set to get its first transgender MP, following the national elections last year.
The ruling Awami League (AL) is considering a transgender candidate for one of the parliament’s 50 seats reserved for women, according to local media.
Eight transgender women have filed their nominations with the party, the The Dhaka Tribune reported.
Falguni, one potential candidate, said: “We are citizens of Bangladesh but we have no representation in the parliament.
“There is no one from our community who can understand and raise our concerns. That is why we are running for the seats.”
First transgender human rights official
Last year, Bangladesh appointed its first transgender human rights official in a bid to transform attitudes towards trans people in the country.
Tanisha Yeasmin Chaity, who was appointed to Bangladesh’s Human Rights Commission, said she was “excited” and added “it was a new beginning for the entire transgender community.”
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Chaity said: “Hijras should lead lives as normal people. The attitude and mindset of society has to change in order to ensure that hijras do not have to do what they are forced to do for money.”
Hijra is an umbrella term which refers to a third gender in south Asia and is sometimes used to describe transgender people.
Discrimination and violence
Despite this, they are often subjected to violence, discrimination and rejected by family, leaving them forced to make money by begging or sex work.
Chaity said: “I was the only male child of the family, and thus my parents were not ready to accept these changes. Their attitude towards me changed, and they kept trying to demoralise me.
“When the pressure became overwhelming, I left my home for the first time to look for people like me in the transgender community – where I would feel safe and accepted,” she said.