Oalid Islam was appointed as foreign cadre in the 35th BCS – the first Hijra foreign cadre in the world
He doesn’t remember the same childhood or even adolescence that their seven brothers and sisters had.
Oalid, however, does remember being taken away by members of the hijra community to the nearby Hijra Palli numerous times.
Each time they (Oalid) were taken, their father – a bus driver by profession – would run after them, hands full of Oalid’s mother’s gold bangles. This was the ransom Oalid’s father would pay to keep his child with him.
Oalid’s parents worried that if their child was taken to the Hijra Palli and raised there, then Oalid would not have the life of any other mainstream citizen.
Despite their financial lackings, Oalid’s parents ensured a good school in the city for their education – the reason being a private school bus to carry their child to and from school.
This way, Oalid’s interaction with other people was limited.
Oalid’s parents also soon moved away from their Gopalganj home to Jashore, where the glare of acquaintances and relatives would also be minimal.
Oalid soon enrolled at the Jahangirnagar University.
Admitted as a male student, Oalid’s identity – that of a Hijra – was well-known.
It wasn’t a challenge for Oalid, though.
In time, Oalid was appointed as foreign cadre in the 35th BCS – the first Hijra foreign cadre in the world.
Now posted in Iran, Oalid had not worried too much about the discussion about gender identity.
That is until yesterday, when Oalid felt compelled to take to social media and tell the world their story.
Tired of being bullied and facing numerous unsubstantiated accusations, Oalid wrote a heart-felt status, which has garnered around 6,000 reactions, a thousand shares and more than 1,300 comments since being posted on 10 January.
In the status, Oalid writes, “Suppose you did not know that your very close friend/older brother or younger brother was of the third gender. However, while studying you have slept in the same hall, same room and even in the same bed as them. Now, when you find out, you hate yourself and start telling funny stories like, ‘That’s why he tried to touch me wrong, groped me at night, kissed me a few times’.”
Oalid says none of the statements were true.
The diplomat also implored all to view those belonging to the Hijra identity as being regular humans, and not from a purely sexualising point of view.
“To you, a third gender person means a person who is only sensual, without any personality. Only a laughing stock who can be used as a sexual instrument at will.”
Oalid said the unwarranted harassment only led to those identifying with the gender going deeper into secrecy.
Lambasting those who spread false stories about them and avoiding them, Oalid also brought up an incident where a teacher also reacted negatively to Oalid’s gender identity.
Oalid also said while undergoing training, they had to endure instructors making fun of them.
“One instructor told my batchmates that I had proposed to have sexual relations with him…when I brought up the misdeeds of this institution, they called me gay and even took a 40 minute class on my behaviour,” Oalid wrote.
“It has been said that I used to harass the trainee boys,” they added.
Oalid also wrote about the time they had fallen in love, with the two families agreeing for them to undergo a surgery and transition into a biological female.
After an eight year relationship, Oalid underwent the surgery, unsuccessfully, resulting in their “colon cancer”.
“He then left me saying how could he marry a transgender. He then got married to someone else,” Oalid wrote.
The incomplete surgery left Oalid without a sexual identity.
Their breasts, vocal chords and facial feminisation procedure were not complete.
“After undergoing three major operations. I had to lie in bed for 36 days. One of my caretakers took pictures of my naked body and threatened to release those online. He then raped me several times,” Oalid said in the status.
“This doesn’t matter since I am a third gender person. I can be used by society however they like.”
Oalid stressed that they were Bangladesh’s first Hijra cadre officer and the world’s first Hijra diplomat.
“I’m tired of playing hide and seek with myself…Maybe I don’t fit here, I was supposed to be in Hijra Dera… Maybe this society of polite people is not for me.”
Oalid said they were tired of fighting and only wanted mutual respect not sympathy.
“All third genders are human. You treat them like dogs,” they wrote.
“I walked the same path you have. However, while flowers were strewn in your path, burning coals were placed in mine.”
Oalid’s status generated a lot of discussion among netizens, with many lending their support.
There were, however, threats and jokes also present in the comments.