The transgender community is voting in Bangladesh for the first time. But, since there are only two booths for male and female respectively, there’s an unforeseen problem for the Election agents.
Bangladesh: The Eunuch vote
December 29, 2008
For the first time ever Eunuchs will be able to cast their votes and it’s causing headaches at the polls. Bangladesh, being a Muslim country, requires separate voting facilities for men and women and Muslim poll workers don’t know which side to put the eunuchs on.
Bangladesh Eunuchs to vote in first elections.
Among the millions of new voters in Monday’s Bangladeshi elections will be some 100,000 hijras — cross-dressing, pre- and post-operative transsexuals — allowed to cast ballots for the first time.
The male-to-female transsexuals are among 32 percent of the impoverished nation’s 81 million voters for whom participating in the elections, the first since 2001, will be a new experience.
Hijra social worker Joya Shikder, herself a transsexual, said the move spelled a positive change for the conservative Muslim country.
“We’ve always been overlooked in previous elections,” Shikder said. “It’s exciting to be given this recognition but the authorities have stopped short of acknowledging us as a third gender.”
The move to give hijras the vote has been applauded by human rights activists but has caused a headache for Election Commission officials who create separate lines for male and female voters at every polling booth.
“You just cannot just class us into men and women by looking at our faces, bodies and expressions,” Shikder said.