Transgender Bangladeshis to vote today

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Today’s general elections in Bangladesh will be the first ever to allow transgender people to cast ballots.

A Bangladeshi court ruled that transgender people are fully-fledged citizens and must have the right to vote.

100,000 transgender people are expected to be amongst the 81 million voters predicted to turn out to vote.

Transgender social worker Joya Shikder said: “We’ve always been overlooked in previous elections.

“It’s exciting to be given this recognition but the authorities have stopped short of acknowledging us as a third gender.”

Security has been tightened ahead of the election, following an outbreak of violence at a motorcade on Saturday which injured nearly 200 people.

500,000 army troops and thousands of security personnel have been deployed to keep the peace.

The election will end a two-year period of emergency rule by an army-backed administration.

Other minority groups have been granted the right to vote, including 40,000 Urdu-speaking Muslims, who originally migrated from Bihar after the partition of India in 1947, but were excluded from voting.

Members of traveller communities and over 50,000 prisoners have also been enfranchised.