Transgenders in India
Trans gender people are given different names in different regions of India. In the north they are called by the name Hijra. (Hijra is a very offensive way to call transgender people.) Hijras are normally born as males, but they dress like females. They dress in Saris, and are often found to be living in communities meant only for Hijra people. There are also cases of people n Hijra community born with inter sex variations. In India Hijra’s are considered as a sex. Trans gender is an option You can select in Your passports and or other official documents.
Besides Hijras, transgender community in India has another set of people termed as kothis. Kothis often imitate movement and actions of the female gender. These men often act as the female in the relationship, meaning that they are the ones often being penetrated by a Hijra in a sexual relationship. They differ from Hijras by the fact that, they live separately and don’t have the initiation ceremony, which many Hijra people have in their community(like cutting off one’s penis, testicles, scrotum etc)
Social status and conditions of Hijras and Kothis are sub par, compared to normal people in India. Most of them work as prostitutes. Hijra people are often victims of brutality(mostly by people who pay to have sex with them), and are plagued by diseases like AIDS. There is no question of education in the transgender community, as many of them cant function as normal people in the society.
In north India, Hijra people are often invited to weddings and birth ceremonies. In spit of their social status, certain people consider Hijra people to bring forth prosperity and good will. They are known to dance and sing in functions in most parts of North India. People believe that Hijras bring good luck and fortune.
Since I am living in the south of India, i didn’t have any memory of seeing Hijra people. Hijra people from North India would visit our part of the country and people would often look in awe at them. In south India there are far less people who cross dress and live in their own communities like the Hijra people.
I have a very fond memory from my childhood regarding transgender people. We had a man living next door to us, who was married and living with his wife and kids. People used to say that he would often dress in white sari and stand at the balcony looking at the sky. One day i saw it with my own eyes, and i almost thought as if i saw the ghost himself. I couldn’t believe what was going on. Soon that family had to leave their house, as the neighbours were complaining about his actions. I was too young to understand what this man was doing back then. Now that i think about it, its very fascinating to me what this man was actually doing back then.