Bangladesh opens first religious school for trans students

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Bangladesh has opened its first religious school for transgender people with no age limit.

The Dawatul Coran Third Sex Madrassa can accommodate more than 150 students who will be able to study Islamic and vocational subjects free of charge.

A third gender is now officially recognized in Bangladesh, which the government says is home to 10,000 transgender people – or hijras, as they are called in South Asia. Other estimates suggest that more than 50,000 people identify as transgender in the country.

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The school opened this week near the Lohar Bridge in the Kamrangirchar region of Dhaka, where it hosted school officials, local counselors and leaders from the Hijra community.

The school is funded by a private foundation created with money left by the late Ahmad Ferdous Bari Chowdhury, a businessman who wanted to educate the Hijra community, BBC News reports.

Classes in the three-story building begin today, November 6, marking the start of teaching at the country’s first school exclusively for transgender people.

People who identify as transgender in Bangladesh have the right to vote and stand for election, but general conservative social attitudes mean that it can be difficult for community members to access employment and access to employment. education.

The Dawatul Quran Third Sex Madrassa will help offer a solution to this problem as it welcomes students of all ages, in the hope that education will enable participants to access a number of different professions.

Mohammad Abdul Aziz Hussaini, the education and training secretary of the madrassa, explained the decision without age limit to the BBC Bengali service, saying that people may not identify as transgender until they are “mature enough.”

That is why we do not set any age limit. Anyone can be admitted here as soon as a transgender person is identified, regardless of their age.

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A student who enrolled in the school named Shilpy dropped out of his old school at the age of nine because he was being bullied.

They said everyone in the school “hated” them, that they were “scared” or “criticized”.

Shilpy told the BBC that “no one wants to hire” members of the transgender community, adding:

If there was a separate reading system for us, no one would tease.

If we had been educated we could have worked better somewhere. There is no education system. This is why we still do what our ancestors did and earn money by dancing and singing.

We also want to be like others, to walk with dignity. We also want to stand on our own two feet. If I have the chance, I’ll go that way.

Hussaini noted that transgender people are “not to blame” for the way they identify themselves, and said they have set up the school so that community members can “learn the Quran and work. in dignity ”.

If you have been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone with confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, or by email [email protected]


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