In a patriarchal society like ours, it is not easy to come out in front of the world and accept yourself the way you are.
Transgender, is one such community that has a fear of social stigma and public harassment because the process starts from their own home itself, the unacceptance starts from there. Being transgender is no cakewalk.
But then there are also people who want to change that thought process. Among them is this, Chittagong-based firm, Denim Expert Ltd, which has been hiring transgender employees alleviated by sexual minorities campaigning organisation Bandhu Social Welfare Society.
This is the first company in Bangladesh to take step towards transgender embracement. This company was established in 1996. With the help of Bandhu, who runs the organisation, they have made a strong transgender army of 10,000 members.
Denim Expert garment founder and CEO Mostafiz Uddin after talking to Bandhu, came to the point that integration is the key to empowering the community. He also said, “Members of the transgender community must be given the opportunity to find gainful employment and in doing so, contribute to society and to the nation as a whole.”
The amalgamation of transgender workers into the industry has provided them a means of living, apart from begging on the streets. Opportunities like these are also a stepping stone towards their artistic dreams.
“Having joined the company, I feel more respected by society,” said Dilruba Akther who is functioning as a junior supervisor in the housekeeping team. Not only that, generous employment has amended her relations with her family. She quotes “Before I joined Denim Expert Ltd., my family disrespected me and did not communicate with me but now we have regular contact.”
Mostafiz Uddin, managing director of the company from Bangladesh said, “Members of the transgender community must be given the opportunity to find gainful employment so that they can contribute to the society and the nation.” Training is also provided to the management and workers to upsurge awareness on issues focussing on transgender and Human Rights.
Recently the company received an Alternative Livelihood Award from the Bandhu Social Welfare Society in 2019 and was named a “New Champion” by the World Economic Forum in 2020.
Stepping Stones like these have added Diversity to the workspace. Which is an indication to the society to contribute to the much-needed employment to a discredited section of the nation.