Jhenaidah’s Nazrul Islam Ritu becomes first transgender UP chairman in Bangladesh

Jhenaidah’s Nazrul Islam Ritu becomes first transgender UP chairman in Bangladesh

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Jhenaidah, Nov 29: Nazrul Islam Ritu, an independent candidate,  was elected as the first transgender Union Parishad chairman at Trilochonpur union of Jhenaidah’s Kaliganj upazila during the 3rd phase UP elections on Sunday.

Ritu, 43, was elected as a chairman of the union bagging  9,557 votes with pineapple symbol while Awami League-backed candidate Nazrul Islam Sana, got 4,529 votes, said Md Abdus Salek, district election officer.

Ritu had to leave her village and move to Dhaka’s Demra at the age of five. However, she frequently visits Jhenaidah to stay connected with the Trilochanpur people.

Locals said Ritu has been providing financial assistance to the helpless people of different villages of Trilochanpur Union for 15 years and thus she became popular among local people.

Talking to UNB, Ritu said, “I have won the election as a transgender person. Now, I want to serve the people of my union for the rest of my life.”

She said the government has given the right to vote and various opportunities to the transgender community members. “I have no regret for being a transgender person.”

“The AL-backed candidate and his supporters obstructed me in many ways. However, there has been a fair election because of the administration,” she added.

Earlier, another transgender, Pinki Khatun, was elected vice-chairman of Kotchandpur upazila in Jhenaidah.

On November 13, Shahida Begum became the first transgender person to get elected as a member of the Maguraghona Union Parishad-6 in Khulna district.

A guideline was approved in 2013 at the cabinet committee for granting Hijra or transgender’s state recognition. Following that, in January 2014, the government issued a gazette granting state recognition to the transgender community.

In 2019, the Election Commission decided to enlist the third gender as a gender identity in the voter list along with male and female.