Traditions

Meet The Hijra, India's Transgender Population

An estimated one million people in India identify as hijra. The Hijra are India's transgender population; they do not identify as male or female. Life is not easy for the hijra in India-doctors often refuse them, they are arrested by police, and they face violence and discrimination on a daily basis. Because traditional mainstream employment is next to impossible for these people, hijras often find work by offering their "mythical ability" to bestow fertility on newlywed couples. Many hijras are forced to undergo a castration ritual to honor the fertility goddess, Bahuchara Mata. For thousands of year, the hijra were revered in India. But in modern times, they face much discrimination.

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