In his recent critiques of President Joe Biden’s economic policies during two Iowa events, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis consistently raised concerns about the federal government’s expenditure on what he termed as “promoting transgenderism in Bangladesh.” Governor DeSantis argued that such initiatives were an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars.
The initiative mentioned by DeSantis, aimed at advancing the civil rights of LGBT or Hizra individuals in Bangladesh, was initiated under the Trump administration. The program incurred an expenditure of approximately $850,000, representing a small fraction of the $30 billion budget of the agency responsible for its implementation.
the collaboration between USAID and Bangladeshi civil society organizations in advocating for the inclusion of the “Hijra” community in the 2021 census. The term “Hijra” in South Asia pertains to transgender individuals, with historical ties to ancient religious traditions in the region. Both Bangladesh and neighbouring India officially recognize hijra as a distinct third gender.
Hizra community in Bangladesh
The “Hijra” community in Bangladesh coexists with the broader population, seamlessly integrating into society alongside individuals who may not identify with the hijra identity. Despite historical and cultural nuances surrounding the hijra community, members often live their lives alongside what is commonly referred to as the “normal” population. This coexistence reflects a diverse and inclusive societal fabric where individuals of different identities share common spaces and contribute to the rich tapestry of Bangladesh’s social landscape. The recognition of hijra as a distinct third gender in official contexts emphasizes a commitment to acknowledging and respecting the diversity of gender identities within the broader community.
Speaking at a Fox News town hall with Iowa voters on Tuesday night, DeSantis proposed the idea of a line-item veto for the president, allowing the removal of specific spending items from larger bills. He emphasized that taxpayer money was being allocated towards initiatives like promoting transgender rights in Bangladesh, questioning the fiscal responsibility of such allocations.