Social Exclusion and Official Recognition of Hijra in Bangladesh




Aziz, Abdul
Azhar, Sameena

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Texas State University, Center for Diversity and Gender Studies


This research study investigates the processes of social exclusion and legal recognition of hijra in Bangladesh, focusing on experiences in accessing work and health services. The goal of this study was to explore how official recognition of hijra as a third gender shaped experiences of social exclusion, following the new third gender registration policy. We conducted fifteen interviews with hijra and five interviews with key informants. Thematic analyses of interviews were conducted to better understand processes of social exclusion of hijra. Findings demonstrate that while the Bangladeshi government reports that they officially recognize hijra as a third gender group, hijra have not actually been able to legally register under this category. Similarly, they have been unable to find gainful employment or easily access health services. Without legal protections for their civil rights, hijra lack the ability to make legal claims of discrimination. These findings suggest that (1) hijra require increased vocational training and employment opportunities, (2) healthcare providers who interact with hijra in medical settings require greater sensitization, and (3) legal advocacy is needed to ensure the protection of hijra's civil rights.



social exclusion, access to work, health services, recognition, Hijra, Bangladesh, transgender


Aziz, A., & Azhar, S. (2019). Social exclusion and official recognition of Hijra in Bangladesh. Journal of Research on Women and Gender, 9(1), pp. 3-19.


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