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A Tribe in Peril: The Hijra in Mumbai

in INDIA, 08/03/2014

The term “hijra,” in India, is used to refer to transgender women. The country has an estimated 1 million hijras, with communities recorded back more than 4,000 years. They've had a sanctioned place in Indian society and culture throughout time. But their visibility in history — with ancient myths bestowing them special powers to bring luck and fertility — hasn't protected the hijra.

Because the Raj first classified the hijra as a “tribe” at a time when the Raj also outlawed all tribes, hijras have faced severe harassment and discrimination. Hijras are usually rejected by their families and communities once they reveal their gender identity, and they are almost always forced to leave the family home. Read more

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