Grassroot Transgender Entrepreneurship Receives the Xulhaz Mannan Memorial Award in Bangladesh

By December 7, 2023 Newsroom, Regional

In Bangladesh, the struggle for transgender rights and acceptance continues, but there are people who have shown exceptional courage and resilience in the face of adversity. The Xulhaz Mannan Memorial Award of Diversity was established in 2021 to honour the legacy of LGBTIQ+ activist Xulhaz Mannan and to recognize local community activists who are making significant contributions to the LGBTIQ+ community in Bangladesh.

In 2023, the award was presented to Layla, a transgender entrepreneur from Mymensingh who has shown extraordinary determination and strength in the face of challenges.

Layla moved to Dhaka at a young age and started her own small business selling mats, toothbrushes, and masks on the side of the road. Despite making significantly less money than others in her profession, Layla has remained committed to her work and lives a simple life with her hard-earned money. She faces daily challenges, including exposure to the elements and the harsh realities of life on the streets. Despite these difficulties, Layla has shown an indomitable spirit and a virtuous lifestyle, serving as an exemplary example for other transgender individuals in Bangladesh.

In recognition of her courage and resilience, Layla has been awarded the Xulhaz Mannan Memorial Award of Diversity. Speaking for the award ceremony, Layla expressed her gratitude for the recognition, saying, “I am honoured to receive this award and to be recognized for my contributions to the transgender community. I hope that this award will inspire others to follow in my footsteps and continue to fight for our rights and acceptance.”

The Xulhaz Mannan Memorial Award of Diversity was established to keep alive the legacy of Xulhaz Mannan, who was tragically assassinated in 2016 along with fellow activist Mahbub Rabby Tonoy. This award serves as a reminder of the importance of LGBTIQ+ activism and the need for continued progress towards equality and acceptance in Bangladesh. By recognizing individuals like Layla who have shown exceptional courage and strength, the award encourages others to continue the fight for LGBTIQ+ rights and acceptance.

This award is a powerful symbol of hope and solidarity for the LGBTIQ+ community in Bangladesh. The award represents a commitment to the ongoing struggle for equality and acceptance and serves as a reminder of the sacrifices that have been made in this fight. As Layla and other award recipients continue to work towards a better future, we must all stand in solidarity with them and support their efforts to create a more just and inclusive society for all.

The Xulhaz Mannan Memorial Award of Diversity is introduced and given by Inclusive Bangladesh, a transgender-led youth LGBTIQ+ human rights organization in Bangladesh.

Imran Hamid (he/him)
Project Associate
Inclusive Bangladesh

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