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Braving all odds, Sumi Khatun fights for her rights

Title:Braving all odds, Sumi Khatun fights for her rights

Jessore, Bangladesh. January 7, 2016. [DrikNEWS] – This is the story of Sumi Khatun (47)! Braving all odds, Sumi Khatun took part in the municipality polls in two south-western districts at Bagharpara municipality in Jessore. Sumi opted to join the battle of ballots to serve the people and fight against social discrimination. Her participation in the elections had created much enthusiasm among locals and the administration. She, however, had to identify herself as female since a government decision to identify hijras as the third gender has not been implemented yet. The cabinet in November 2013 decided to identify hijras as people of the third gender and to use this sexual identity in different government forms and documents like passport and NID cards. But the Election Commission kept no option for the third gender in the nomination forms for both mayoral and councillor aspirants. Sumi contested the 2010 municipality election too but lost by only 13 votes then. Though she lost this year as well, she said people in her locality inspired her to take part in the polls again. “I love my people and want to stand beside them during their times of need”. Sumi is very popular in her locality. Another transgender councilor candidate Dithi also participated in the contest at the post of reserved women councilor of 7th, 8th and 9th ward in Satkhira. According to a survey by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Bangladesh has a transgender population of around 10,000. Others put the figure higher, at somewhere between 30,000 and 150,000. Photos: Firoz Gazi/DrikNEWS

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