Bangladesh opened its first Islamic school for transgender Muslims in an effort to counter widespread discrimination against LGBT in the country.
They took this initiative in making education accessible for the Muslim-majority nation’s up to 1.5 million transgender people.
The madrasa was opened to make life easier for the oppressed transgender community in Bangladesh. The clerics there are calling it a first step towards integrating the discriminated minority into the society.
Around 50 transgender students read Quranic verses to mark the opening of the Dawatul Islam Tritio Linger Madrasa, or Islamic Third Gender School, which is located on the outskirts of the capital on Friday (6th November). 33-year-old student Shakila Akhter told AFP, “I am ecstatic. We are grateful to the clerics for this beautiful move.”
According to CNA, Akhter was born a girl and had ambitions to become a doctor or lawyer, but she might not be able to because she left home as a child to join a transgender commune. The student added, “We are Muslims, yet we can’t go to a mosque. We can’t even mix with other members of society.”
The top floor of a three-storey building was transformed into the school by a group of clerics led by Abdur Rahman Azad. Azad’s team already offers lessons to seven other transgender groups in the country’s capital and the madrasa was built due to the need for a permanent base for the community.
Azad stated, “For too long they have been living a miserable life. They can’t go to schools, madrasas or mosques. They have been victims of discrimination. We, society and the state are to blame for this.”
Since 2013, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government has allowed trans to be identified as a separate gender.