From the beginning of the history of society there exists a group of people that has been forced to hide under the layer of gender. We see hermaphrodites in the media as a source of amusement. We live in a society where we cannot tolerate anyone that diverges from the common. Hijras are seen as freaks of nature and they are ridiculed and often feared.
The term “Hermaphrodite” or “eunuchs”, commonly known as Hijra in Bangladesh, dated back to the era of Roman, Greek and Etruscan mythologies. Once upon a time, in the era of monarchies, Hijras were appointed in the king’s council. I’m sure all Game of Thrones fans are aware of this reference! However, as time passed, they have become a joke because society became ignorant. This ignorance began at home and ended with the government. Hijras have no place in society but who are we to deny them of their basic civic rights?
According to Adnan Hossain, a PhD student in Social Anthropology Department of Social Sciences, University of Hull, and “Hijras or hermaphrodites are people with ambiguous genitalia Also called intersexed, hermaphroditism is primarily a medical condition, which results from multifarious biological factors. The term ‘intersexed’ is reserved to refer to a somatic condition in which the hermaphroditic person is supposed to posses both masculine and feminine traits”. However, Hijras of Bangladesh define themselves as people who are neither male nor female. They regard themselves as people incapable of sexual sensation. They also claim to have neither a male nor female genitalia. Canadian researcher and filmmker’s, Aude Leroux-Lévesque, studies showed that in the last two centuries, Hijras have increasingly struggled against ostracism, harassment, malicious rumors and the denial of human rights and basic human necessities. As a result, the number of Hijras who turned to prostitution radically rose. This is because according to Hijras themselves, they are not given any support by the government or local authorities. In fact, almost all faced ostracism by their families. Ms. Leroux-Lévesque has spent considerable time in Bangladesh, working with non-profit organizations, studying the life of the Hijras. She and her partner, Sébastien Rist, co-directed their first documentary “Call me Salma: The story of a young transgender girl”. 
Mr. Abu Mokeram Khondaker, Secretary General of Association for Environment and Human Resource Development (AFEAHRD) says,“Hijras face prejudice and discrimination at every turn. Marked out by their sexual difference, they are hounded out of schools, and hence lack the necessary qualifications to get proper jobs. It’s almost impossible for them to become educated, to get a passport, or even to open a bank account.”
The Hijra community was principally deprived of human rights under Bangladeshi law, save for right to life, because Bangladeshi law recognizes only two sexes: male and female. All Bangladeshi documents therefore are prepared for men and/or women.
Recently, the Bangladeshi government, being the first government in the world, has granted “a third gender” status to approximately 10,000 Hijras living in the country. The new law does more than just give Hijras the option to put down a gender on paper. It gives them benefits and opportunities including access to rights of education (Article 17 of the Constitution), right of employment, right to participate in social programs, holding passport and right to drivers’ license. Third gender status also provides an avenue for reducing discrimination against Hijras. Our society has led them into poverty, which meant begging for food and shelter to prostitution. Often Hijras resorted to black magic as a method of survival. With the granting of civil rights for the Hijra community, our society at last has been questioned.
Ms. Sara Hossain, a Supreme Court lawyer, said, “We cannot ignore the fact that they are nature’s creation and they have been a part of society for thousands of years. We have to accept their diversity with respect.’’
Hijras are humans and the objective of the Shariah is do justly treat all man. It is only Allah swt Who possesses the right to treat one different from another, as we are all His creations. Thus, Hijras shall be subjected to the same fiqh. Article 27 of the Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees equality before the law. Other rights that follow through are Article15 (d), which provides the right of social security, Article 29(1), which provides for the equality of opportunity in public employment and Article 42(10), which provides for the right to property. Such are the basic fundamental rights in Bangladesh, which is determined by citizenship and not sex. Article 15 of the Constitution clearly states that it is the fundamental responsibility of the State to provide for the basic necessities for Bangladeshi citizens. So why have Hijras been left out?
What is even more shocking is that the world has come together to fight for homosexuality and the one right LBGs are being deprived of: marriage. The world remains ignorant to the plight of the Hijra community. Homosexuality has been described not as a fundamental right of choice of being but it is an alternative-life-choice. Dr. Michael Mercen of the World Health Organization has identified a cause of AIDS to be homosexuality. Yet, society continues to contend for those who already have everything remaining blissfully unaware of an entire community of under-privileged human beings who were ostracized by the same society. This is not an satire but a sin committed by society.
The biggest thrust for protection and advocacy for the rights of Hijras came from two social factions – The Bandhu Social Welfare Society and Boys of Bangladesh (BoB). They are the only bodies within the country that have managed to launch and advocate a movement in face of society’s discrimination.
The traditional social dishonor against Hijras is the primary hurdle for the group’s acceptance into mainstream Bangaldeshi society and all-encompassing South Asian culture. A change in society’s behavior materializes over a life span – much longer than the canon of government. After countless years of being denied basic fundamental civil rights, shunned, ridiculed and abused, the Hijras still have a long and difficult road ahead of them. Despite these challenges, our Bangladeshi government has taken a very important step in fostering social equality and equal opportunity for the Hijras. We now stand at a point where it is a social responsibility to overcome its self-created stigma and accept these long-persecuted citizens of Bangladesh. Society must continue to progress and with the utilization of social groups, the Hijras can too someday experience the privilege of belonging to mainstream society.