Sadia Akter Pinky, a transgender woman, has been elected vice-chairman of the Kotchandpur Upazila Parishad in Jhenaidah.
She ran for the female vice-chairman’s post as a woman and secured 12,880 votes after the election was held on Monday. Her nearest rival, Rubina Khatun, bagged 12,139 votes.
Pinky, who also works as a convenor of Kotchandpur Upazila’s Jubo Mohila League wing, told bdnews24.com that she had not introduced her as a ‘hijra’ or transgender before the election.
“I want to dedicate myself to the service of the people,” she said thanking the residents of Kotchandpur for casting their votes for her.
Pinky, a resident of the Upazila’s Suyadi village, had studied up to the 10th class. She once got married to a man, but their marriage did not work out due to her gender identity.
She used to run a cloth store at Kotchandpur and later began to concentrate on politics and social-welfare based activities. She has been working as a leader of Jubo Mohila League for the past three years.
Bangladesh had officially recognised transgenders as a separate gender or the third sex in 2013. Following the decision, Election Commission initiated a separate column on the voter registration form to identify them as ‘hijra’.
“The hijras or transgenders have rights of voting in the law. As they can cast their votes, they have also rights to run in elections. But Pinky didn’t introduce her as a ‘hijra’ in the nomination form,” returning officer Roknuzzaman said.
“Transgender people have also rights to introduce them as a ‘male’ or ‘female’ in voter registration form,” he said quoting Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam.