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Life

Bangladesh's first trans school ignites hope for acceptance

Madrassa's opening shows progress may be slow, but is still a step forward

Hijras take lessons in the Quran, Bengali, English, math and social sciences at the madrassa. (Photo by Mahmud Hossain Opu)

DHAKA -- Riya was given away by her parents when she was five after a short spell at school where she was bullied for being different.

Unable to accept that Riya is a hijra, a transgender or an intersex person, her parents abandoned her to a group whose primary means of survival was begging and sex work. In conservative, Muslim Bangladesh, hijras exist on the fringe of society.

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