Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina government has proposed special tax advantages for businesses that hire transgender people, making it the first country in South Asia to do so.
The plan prompted cheers from one of Bangladesh’s poorest groups, fueling hopes that it would help break the chains of years of discrimination. The concept, which is part of Bangladesh finance minister A.H.M. Mustafa Kamal’s yearly budget plans, envisions a tax credit for firms who hire “third gender” (Tritiya terminology) people for 10% of their whole workforce or more than 100 employees, whichever is lower.
“The rebate will amount to 75 per cent of the total salary paid to workers from the third gender, or 5 per cent of the payable tax, whichever is lower,” the finance minister of the Muslim-majority country said in his budget speech.
Unlike in India, where the Supreme Court struck down IPC Section 377 in 2018, homosexuality is illegal in Bangladesh, a holdover from the British-Indian government’s Section 377 of 1860. In Bangladesh, where homosexuality is illegal, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people is rampant.