.Approximately two thousand transgender Bangladeshis staged the country’s first-ever pride parade on November 10, in order to celebrate one year since the government recognized them as a third gender.
Dhaka’s busy roads were brought to a standstill as the transgender marchers, or hijras as they are known in Bangladesh, danced and sang their way through the streets, drawing crowds of spectators.
The group, many wearing colourful saris, unfurled a huge Bangladeshi flag and carried banners, one of which red: “The days of stigma, discrimination and fear are over.”
Last November the government recognised the hijras as a third gender, securing their rights and allowing them to identify themselves as a separate gender in passports and other state papers.
The government says there are around 15 thousand hijras in the country. But rights groups put the number of hijras in the country at around half a million. Bangladesh has a population of around 156 million.
On Sunday the community held a seminar to discuss their rights and staged a talent show to identify the best dancers and singers. A hijra beauty contest is due to be held later this month.
Stigma and discrimination for the hijras mean this population does not have access to social services and other human rights.
The transgender pride march reflects a growing tolerance for the rights of minorities in Bangladesh, the conservative Muslim country.