ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh and South Asia, a UK-based international human rights organisation, appreciates the Bangladesh government’s initiative of special tax exemptions for the third gender citizens in the proposed budget 2021-22.
Such initiative will help mainstream third gender people by increasing their employment opportunity, living standard with dignity and socio-economic security.
ARTICLE 19 believes, this initiative will enable them to play a progressive role in the country's economy and development. It believes such additions will remove the stereotype mindset gradually from society. The organisation strongly believes that the society will consider them, as well as sex-binary people as part of the gross development of the country without considering their gender identity.
Faruq Faisel, Regional Director of ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh and South Asia, said, “Government’s initiative of special tax exemptions for the third gender citizens will increase employment opportunity for third gender persons in the private sector and change the social attitude towards them. Besides, these marginalized people will contribute to the productivity growth in the country and improve their living standard simultaneously.”
He further said, “Government needs to ensure that these allowances and trainings reach all the targeted groups. However, negative attitudes towards the Hijra community still exist in the family, society and the state. Mental and physical abuse and discrimination by many people towards Hijra persons is noticeable. Due to stereotype mindset of the society, they are isolated from private and public sectors, unable to apply for jobs, as well as education and health facilities for them yet to be ensured. Therefore, it is necessary to take the initiatives to educate them.”
Bangladesh government recognised transgender people as the Third Gender in November 2013 to eliminate the inequality. The Gazette was published on January 26 in 2014, with the state recognition of Hijras. As per government reckoning, about 10,000 Hijra are currently living in the country. However, several non-government organisations defer the number.
They reported that about 50 thousand Hijra people are currently living in Bangladesh. Since then, the government has been trying to bring them into the mainstream by providing monthly allowances, vocational trainings to transgender people between the ages of 50 and above 50 to increase their livelihood skills. Another positive attempt has taken by the government by recommending a tax-free income limit for the third gender.