poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Sex worker commits suicide

A 24-year-old hijra committed suicide by hanging at her house in Lingarajapuram in Banaswadi police limits on Friday morning. The deceased, Famila, a sex worker and hijra rights activist, ended her life in an inebriated state over a trivial reason, according to the police.

Famila was also the board member of Sangama, an NGO working for the rights of hijras. She had come second in the “Miss Koovagam,” an annual hijra meet in Koovagam in Tamil Nadu, beauty contest in 2003.


Human Rights Violations against the Transgender Community

A study of kothi and hijra sex workers in Bangalore, India
- September 2003Reflections on the PUCL Report
by Lynn Conway
Dear friends,
In September 2003, the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka (PUCL-K) published a truly remarkable report on human rights violations against the transgender community in India.  In the spring of 2004, I was fortunate to obtain a hardcopy of the report, and I wish to alert you to it via this webpage.
The 117 page PUCL report begins by providing background on the social, cultural and political context of the Kothis and Hijras. It then documents violence and abuse against these peoples via testimonies of many who have been directly affected, and goes on to discuss the institutional basis of all this violence. The report then documents efforts by the Kothi and Hijra to organize and protest the violence and discrimination that they face. It also documents many useful recommendations on how to improve the plight of transgender people in India. The report concludes with many useful appendices of valuable information, including contact information for Kothi and Hijra support organizations.
Th PUCL report provides valuable insights into Hijra life. Many of you may not realize that the Hijra traditions and community go back 4000 years in India. Hijra practices include a tradition innovated thousands of years ago for surgically intervening in cases of transsexualism so as to effect a "sex change" from male towards female.  You will learn in this report that the practice of a "one-year real-life test", which we think of as part of the "modern HBIGDA tradition", may itself have originated in ancient Hijra traditions. This time-test is practiced there to this day, in this case under Hijra gurus instead of psychiatric "gatekeepers". (For more background on the Hijra, see Lynn's pages on Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment Surgery, and links you'll find there).


India's eunuchs demand rights
By Habib Beary
BBC correspondent in Bangalore
Eunuchs came to celebrate - and demand better treatment
She is tall, bold and - many think - sexy!

At a carnival for eunuchs in the high-tech southern Indian city of Bangalore, purple sari-clad Famila invites curious stares from the crowd.

Eunuchs are known in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as hijras or "impotent ones".

Born as boys, they have strong female feelings - some become cross-dressers, others opt for often crude surgery.

In her mid-20s, Famila is unabashedly candid - she makes a living out of sex.


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