Transgender people to gain inheritance rights in Bangladesh - EasternEye
Bangladeshi hijras - transgenders - march in the street during a rally to mark the first ever nationwide program to observe 'Hijra Day' in Dhaka on November 10, 2014. On November 10, 2013, the Bangladesh government officially recognised hijras as a separate gender in order to secure their rights, enabling them to identify their gender as 'hijra' on all government documents, including passports. AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN        (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Transgender people to gain inheritance rights in Bangladesh

Transgender people will soon be able to inherit property from their families, Bangladesh’s law minister said on Sunday (15), the latest effort to give the minority group more rights in the conservative Muslim-majority nation.

While the country of 168 million people is officially secular, property legislation still follows religious laws, with transgender people mostly barred from inheriting estates when parents die.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina told a cabinet meeting this week that new inheritance laws for the group, known as hijra — an umbrella term referring to someone who is born male but does not refer to themselves as a man or woman — were being drafted.

“We’re trying to frame a legislation in accordance with the Islamic sharia law and our constitution which will ensure the property rights for a transgender family member,” law minister Anisul Huq told AFP.

The bill has yet to be proposed in parliament but is expected to comfortably pass the legislative body.

Bangladesh has allowed transgender people, who number around 1.5 million, to identify as a separate gender since 2013.

Last year they were allowed to register to vote as a third gender. Earlier this month, the South Asian country opened its first Islamic school for transgender Muslims.

But the LGBTQI community still faces widespread discrimination, with a colonial-era law in place that punishes gay sex by prison terms, though enforcement is rare.

Rights activists welcomed the move but were sceptical about whether the law would be enforceable with many families still rejecting their transgender offspring.

“As an activist, I am happy the issue is getting focus. But it’s not just a matter of legislation, rather it requires a change in the entire society,” said Ananya Banik, 40, who heads transgender rights group SadaKalo.

Banik said she came out as transgender when she was 16.

“I had to leave my family because of the pressure they received from other families when I was growing up. And I’m not alone, there are hundreds of thousands of members in our community who had to leave their families behind,” Banik, who prefers to be called she, added.

She said many transgenders leave their homes at a young age, often driven away from family members, and could face violence if they return to claim their inheritances.

Rights groups also fear a backlash from religious hardliners.

In 2015 Islamist extremists hacked to death a leading gay activist and editor of an LGBTQI magazine, while other prominent homosexuals have since fled the country.

Adblocker detected! Please consider reading this notice.

We've detected that you are using an Adblocker which is preventing the page from fully loading.

We don't have any banner, Flash, animation, obnoxious sound, or popup ad. We do not implement these annoying types of ads!

We depend on the revenues generated to operate the site, and continue to bring you great news content

Please add to your ad blocking whitelist or disable your adblocking software.