A transgender woman’s struggle to be herself in Bangladesh.

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02/01/2022

Riya Moni is putting her makeup on. She is not afraid of being caught or humiliated anymore – her makeup is her transgression. She is a transgender woman living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Born intersex, she was named Zia by her parents, who ensured no one ever knew about her gender identity. Cultural stigma and conservative doctrine towards the transgender communities in Bangladesh forces people like Riya to lead a dual and undignified life.
Being raised in a boy’s guise, her childhood went by being constantly bullied for acting feminine. At an EU-funded safe space run by the Danish Refugee Council, Riya found the psychosocial assistance she needed. “Now I have access to health care where they treat me respectfully,” she says.

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