The devastating floods that submerged large swaths of Bangladesh over the past month have exacerbated vulnerabilities of trans people there, compounding existing stigma and social prejudice, Thomson Reuters reports. Despite legally recognizing “hijra,” a word denoting people in “hijrat” or migration, as a gender identity in 2014, trans and intersex people in Bangladesh are, in practice, generally excluded from education, employment, and other legal protections. This, combined with the resulting financial hardship, make trans people especially vulnerable. The same is also true in the United States.
“Transgender people cannot easily get access to the emergency shelters. They may get beaten and thrown out,” Mahfuza Mala, a climate expert and gender justice activist who works for the Bangladesh-based feminist organization Naripokkho, told Thomson Reuters. Sex workers, and trans sex workers specifically, were among the most affected by Cyclone Amphan in 2020, according to a UN analysis. (Thomson Reuters Foundation; Climate Signals background: Extreme precipitation increase)