Bangladesh’s Third Gender


Shahria Sharmin

Shahria Sharmin had gone to her husband’s factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, looking to tell a positive story about the garment industry, one that would offset negative public perceptions. What she found, instead, was an even more challenging topic: the lives of five hijras, the local term for the culture of men who identify as women. By day, they presented themselves as men, but at night they dressed as women and kept a home for their boyfriends.

That this was happening in Bangladesh, which has the world’s fourth largest Muslim population, intrigued Ms. Sharmin, who grew up in a conservative family in which such topics were never discussed. (New York Times)