What is in the discussed story of Sharifa

What is in the discussed story of Sharifa

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In light of the new curriculum, a chapter in the seventh grade history and social science textbook includes a public awareness lesson on the transgender community. There is a debate about this. The issue has come to the fore after a part-time teacher of BRAC University tore the pages of a book on the subject at an event. The video of the incident has spread on social media.

During the discussion on this, BRAC University said in a statement on Monday that Asif Mahtab worked as a part-time teacher in BRAC University. Currently there is no contract with BRAC University. It further stated that BRAC University is strongly committed to inclusiveness and tolerance while maintaining a safe environment for faculty and students.

There is a lot of discussion on social media about this issue. Education Minister Mahibul Hasan Chowdhury faced questions from journalists about this today. He said, if there is any controversy or confusion in the presentation of public awareness lesson about Hijra community in the textbook and experts feel some changes can be made. But in the book, the word is not transgender, but third gender, he said, it is legally recognized, those who are biologically known as third gender or hijra in the society as a whole. They are citizens of this country. Of course they have civic benefits.

Besides, the minister also reminded that there is a tendency in the country to create anarchy or destabilize the situation by using religion or religious sentiments in various matters through a group.

What is actually in the textbook? It is known that a part of the chapter on ‘Similarities and Differences in Humans’ in the history and social science books has given an awareness discussion about the transgender population. In that part, Khushi Apa (the teacher) brings a guest to the class. He said, he studied in your school till the seventh standard. Today he came to see his school. Suman (student) asked, what is your name? He said, My name is Sharifa Akhtar. Then Sharifa started telling his life story. Sharifa said, When I studied in your school, my name was Sharif Ahmed. Anuching (student) said in surprise, how did you change from a boy to a girl? Sharifa said, I am still what I was then. I just changed the name. They did not understand Sharifa’s words properly.

Anai (student) asked him, where is your house? Sharifa said, My house is quite near. But I live away now. Anai nodded and said, I understand, just as my family came here from another place, your family also moved from here to another place. Sharifa said, not that. My family is here. I left them and started living with strangers. Now that’s my family. Seeing them surprised, Sharifa started talking about her life.

As a child, everyone called me boy. But once I realized that my body is like a boy, but I am a girl in my heart. I loved dressing up like girls. But no one at home would agree to buy me the clothes I want. I used to dress up secretly with my sister’s clothes. If he was caught, he would be scolded and even beaten. I wanted to play with girls more. But the girls didn’t want to take me to the game. Even when I went to play with the boys, they used to laugh at my speech and behavior. Everyone at school, the neighborhood—even the people at home—ignored me. Why am I like this?

One day I met someone whom everyone in the society calls a girl; But he considers himself a boy. I thought, this man is also like me. He told me, we are neither male nor female, we are the third gender. That man took me to a place where there are different types of people besides men and women. They are called ‘Hijra’ people. All of them are watched by their ‘Guru Ma’. I didn’t feel alone when I went there, I didn’t feel like I was different from everyone else. I stayed with those people. The rules, language, customs here are very different from our home. We share all the happiness and sorrows and live like a family. It is also very sad for the people at home. So sometimes I go home.

I left home 20 years ago today. Since then I have been earning money by going to different houses in the city with my new housemates, blessing new babies and new brides and grooms. Sometimes I ask people to collect money. We also want to live, study, work and do business like ten other normal people in the society. Still most people don’t want to mix with us, don’t want to work even if they have qualifications. But nowadays many people are quite sympathetic towards us. Lately many people like us are studying from their homes. There are people like us in all countries of the world. In many countries they live like the rest of the society. But the condition of our country is also changing. We were recognized by the government in 2013. Various government and private organizations are working for us. Providing education, providing employment. Efforts are being made to change the attitude of the society. Many people from the transgender community of Bangladesh like Nazrul Islam Ritu, Shammi Rani Chowdhury, Vipul Burman have achieved success in social life and professional life.

Then pictures of some successful transgenders at work are given.

Full story here prothomalo

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