Members of the Hijra community will be included as a separate gender identity in the upcoming national census of January 2021, said Mohammad Tajul Islam, director general of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
"Necessary preparations have been completed, and the census will start from the beginning of January," Tajul said in a consultation meeting on "Inclusion of Hijra/Transgender Community in National Census 2021" yesterday, according to a press release of Bandhu Social Welfare Society.
Bandhu and National Human Rights Commission organised the event.
"As most of them live without family and are often moving, it will be a challenge to include each of them in the census," said Nasima Begum, chairperson of National Human Rights Commission.
"Self-acceptance is important for every person, and that is why the Hijra population should include itself in the national census willingly. For this, everyone from the society should come forward along with family members of Hijras," she said.
She also proposed that people who will work on recording data for the census should be trained and oriented well on the Hijras' issues. Bandhu, with help from BBS, can play a role to train field-level workers.
With support from National Human Rights Commission, Bandhu is working with BBS to include Hijra people as a separate gender in the national census since 2018.
Habibur Rahman, deputy inspector general of police, said this is a big achievement for this population, after getting Hijra gender recognition.
If the exact number of the Hijra population can be determined, it will be easier to work for improving their quality of life, he said.
The presented guests in consultation meeting agreed that including Hijra as a gender in the census will be a milestone to achieve Sustainable Development Goal for the government.