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Transgenders gain right to inherit in Bangladesh

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A Bangladeshi transgender (left) applies henna on a woman’s hand. Transgender people will soon be able to inherit property from their families. AFP

Transgenders gain right to inherit in Bangladesh

Transgender people will soon be able to inherit property from their families, Bangladesh’s law minister said November 15, the latest effort to give the minority group more rights in the conservative Muslim-majority nation.

While the country of 168 million people is officially secular, property legislation still follows religious laws, with transgender people mostly barred from inheriting estates when parents die.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told a cabinet meeting this week that new inheritance laws for the group, known as hijra – an umbrella term referring to someone who is born male but does not refer to themselves as a man or woman – were being drafted.

“We’re trying to frame a legislation in accordance with the Islamic sharia law and our constitution which will ensure the property rights for a transgender family member,” Law Minister Anisul Huq told AFP.

The bill has yet to be proposed in parliament but is expected to comfortably pass the legislative body.

Bangladesh has allowed transgender people, who number around 1.5 million, to identify as a separate gender since 2013.

Last year they were allowed to register to vote as a third gender. Earlier this month, the South Asian country opened its first Islamic school for transgender Muslims.

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