India, along with a host of other South Asian nations, is home to a group of transgender people called “hijras,” who have long served as culturally significant ritual performers.
Hijras commonly live in communes and traditionally undergo an extensive initiation process, including a ritualistic and crude castration. For centuries, they have regularly performed at weddings and childbirths in exchange for payment. According to religious folklore, hijras have the power to both bless one with fertility and also assign curses. Because of this “power,” for much of Indian history, hijras garnered significant respect as an important group of ascetic people.
But in today’s India, the hijras are largely stigmatized, often functioning as an institutionalized third gender for whom access to education, jobs, and good housing are scarce. Over the years, with increased ostracism, Hijras have often been relegated to a life of begging, prostitution and extortion. It’s a trend that began during the British colonization of India, which in 1860 brought about the India Penal Code, including Section 377 Unnatural offences . Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
From Journalist To Being A Politician, Meet This Transgender Woman Who Is Breaking All The Stereotypes
it is not about having no dreams , but dreams with the idea of fulling it is the reason why you should read about this lady. Apsara Reddy is one of the most iconic and inspirational transgenders of India and perhaps the only trans personality to head several National Newspapers across the world. Born a boy, Apsara later transitioned to be a woman. She has a BA degree in Journalism from Monash University, Australia and MA in Broadcasting with a special focus on Developmental Economics from City University, London. After her education, Apsara has worked briefly with UNICEF to launch a health campaign across Tamil Nadu. She is an active voice that speaks against violence against women, corruption and dynastic politics. Apsara has worked with the BBC WORLD SERVICE, The Hindu, Commonwealth Secretariat in London, New Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle. Her national columns on consumerism, politics, celebrity lifestyles and education have put her in the top league of journalists. Her activism and lobbying also got her a plum job at the Indian Consulate in Melbourne. She was in the year 2013 awarded an excellence award by Jaguar Motors. She is also the recipient of many awards through Rotary, Round Table and other organizations. On International Women’s Day, Apsara joined the BJP and she hopes to work towards empowering the youth of the country and addressing issues such as prohibition, environment and the welfare of the backward classes.
Madhu Bai Kinnar: First transgender mayor
This is what we call will power combined with destiny, expelled from her home and became the first citizen of Raigarh, district of Chhattisgarh. She is a street-play artist and also a folk dance performer who earlier earned her living by singing and dancing on train.
Bharathi: First transgender pastor
Had to leave her home seven years back, baptized to Christianity, Bharathi went through a tough life. Once an untouchable become the blessing for children and also responsible for conducting weddings. She has a bachelor’s degree in Theology and is now serving as a pastor at Evangelical church of India.
Empowerment is not limited to visibility. It has to do with spaces of all kinds being available to transwomen. In that regard, NO. Most employers and even the empowered corporates shy away from the trans community. We are not seen as a talent pool, much more like a fringe minority with freakish behaviour.
I would say, we cannot blame anyone for this because my own sisters don’t make a good case for themselves. Often the animated gestures, abusive language, begging and resorting to prostitution as the only ways to make a living put us in very bad light. Transwomen should see this evolution as a progressive one and not stoop so low.
Even when opportunities come their way some of them settle for an easier way of life. Life is not easy, I agree. And I haven’t had it easy, so much more harder as my family is a traditional one and convincing them, took way too long.
In India, transgender people include hijras/ kinnars (eunuchs), shiv-shaktis, jogappas, Sakhi, jogtas, Aradhis etc. In fact, there are many who do not belong to any of the groups but are transgender persons individually. Transgenders fall under the LGBT group (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). They constitute the marginalised section of the society in India, and thus face legal, social as well as economic difficulties.
The problems faced by the transgender people in India include:
- These people are shunned by family and society alike.
- They have restricted access to education, health services and public spaces.
- Till recently, they were excluded from effectively participating in social and cultural life.
- Politics and decision-making processes have been out of their reach.
- Transgender people have difficulty in exercising their basic civil rights.
- Reports of harassment, violence, denial of services, and unfair treatment against transgender persons have come to light.
- Sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is criminalised, and is punishable by incarceration.
Each being in this Universe is indeed unique, and an integral part of Nature. It would thus be wrong to judge and discriminate people who may be different from the stereotype, which again is man-made. It is time that India realised that every individual in this country has equal rights and privileges, and follow the policy of “live and let live.”
The (IRCTC) Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited broke the binary gender construct of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ by including ‘transgender’ as a gender option in the Railway Ticket Forms. This option is provided to transgenders both online as well as at the counter.
The decision was made after a representation by a Delhi-based lawyer at the Delhi high Court in February of this year. He was also asked to approach the Railway Ministry. It includes requests for the facilities of reservations and special coaches.
One of the roles that set aside Paresh Rawal as an exceptionally talented actor was that of Tikku, a ‘Hijra’ who adopts and brings up an abandoned girl child Tamanna, played by Pooja Bhatt in the 1998 movie of the same name. Danish Sheikh who works with the Alternative Law Forum, Bengaluru, mentions the movie as we discuss whether or not members of the third sex have the right to adopt a child in India.
the Nalsa judgement has affirmed the Constitutional rights and freedoms of transgender persons, including those who identify as third gender and those whose gender identify is different from their biological sex, i.e., persons assigned female gender at birth identifying as man, and vice-versa. By recognizing diverse gender identities, the Supreme Court has broken the binary gender construct of “man” and “woman” that has pervaded Indian law.
The court observed that “the gender to which a person belongs is to be determined by the person concerned.