Photojournalist Zabed Hasnain Chowdhury is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘Neither Man nor Woman’. To see Zabed’s body of work, click on any image.
In Bangladesh transgender people are treated brutally because they do not have the gender identity approved by society and/or government. Although the government of Bangladesh has recognized transgender people as the ‘third gender’ the change have not yet to be implemented on their national identity cards. The transgender individuals are commonly known as ‘Hijra’ in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Sexual identity of a transgender person is not associated with their birth. The studies show that mostly the Hijra born as male. As they grow older they feel like female. They are likely to behave like female, dress up and wear makeup like girls.
According to the research there are between 15,000 to .5 million Hijra living in different parts of the country. Mostly they live in slums with the Hijra community as the landlords inflate the prices to third gender individuals looking to rent living space.
Families must give their transgender child to the Hijra community rather they want it or not.
The Hijra community sometimes buy the Hijra child from their parents and occasionally stole them if the parents refuse to give their youngster away.
These children have two names. One given by their parents and another by the Hijra community. In our society some people believe that the third gender individuals are bad luck while others think they have spiritual power. Many trust that because the Hijra is deprived, Allah will grant their prayer faster; and their blessings may be good for newlyweds or newborns. But wherever they go they are not treated normally like other citizens.
All images and text © Zabed Hasnain Chowdhury
By Zabed Hasnain Chowdhury
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