Hijras... Waiting to Belong
...A film by Fatima Saidi
Hijras are culturally defined as “neither man nor woman”. The Hijra community of India consists of broadly two types of Hijras. First are the people who are born with ambiguous genitals or are intersexed, best known as hermaphrodites in the west. Second are people who are born as males and through a ritual surgical transformation become Hijras, close to the transgendered community in the west. Hijras form an alternative, third sex/gender category, whose traditional employment is to perform at marriages and after a child has been born. During the Moghal era, Hijras were employed to safeguard the “Janankhanas”, palaces of the queens where entry of males was prohibited and Hijras, like the other maids were the only source of communication.