If You Have the Guts to Begin, You Get the Courage to Succeed
From family members to neighbors, it is common to treat a transgender (or “trans”) person differently. This may be said to be the experience of 20-year-old Atiur Rahman* in Bogura, Bangladesh.
Assigned male at birth, Atiur identifies as female, and after starting out assisting their mother with household chores, they were determined to assert their right to work outside the home. Facing head-on the social stigma they experienced, Atiur went in search of paid employment to support their family. They contacted Reza Engineers to ask for a job and the owner took them on.
Atiur began their working life as a laborer in the workshop foundry, cleaning and carrying raw materials, earning Bangladeshi taka (BDT) 4000 ($40) each month. At first they encountered prejudice in the form of covert glances and a generally unfriendly attitude from their coworkers, but dealt with it by following their mentor’s instructions and concentrating on the positives. This prepared the way for them to become a success in the work place, rather than someone defined merely by their sexual identity.
In March 2022, Atiur attended a painting skills training course funded by the USAID-funded Feed the Future Bangladesh Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia — Mechanization and Extension Activity (CSISA-MEA). They are now confident enough to take on the primary responsibilities of the painting trade while also managing the stock of raw materials at the main gate — and have negotiated a raise with their employer, taking their monthly wage to BDT 6000 ($60).
Atiur is blazing a trail through life, achieving so much with just a little support from CSISA-MEA. “There’s many people like me who are deprived [of a place] in society, just because of our gender identity — and decent employment can do us justice,” Atiur says. Atiur has grown in skill, competence and confidence, and is convinced they will soon be carrying out their painting operation work flawlessly.
Atiur says, “Because I got a job, people in society started to accept me and also to [positively] appreciate [what I do].”
*Atiur is a pseudonym.