Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hijra's in Pakistan

Here a picture I recently made of two hijra's in a village near to Islamabad, Pakistan.

A hijra is (wikipedia): In the culture of South Asia, hijra (Hindi: हिजड़ा, Urdu: ہِجڑا Bengali: হিজড়া or নপুংশক) are physiological males who adopt feminine gender identity, women's clothing and other feminine gender roles. They have a long recorded history in the Indian subcontinent, from the Mughal Empire period onwards. This history features a number of well-known roles within subcontinental cultures, part gender-liminal, part spiritual and part survival.

In Pakistan, many hijra live in well-defined, organized, all-hijra communities, led by a guru.[1][2] These communities have sustained themselves over generations by "adopting" young boys who are rejected by, or flee their family of origin.[3] Many work as male sex workers for survival.[4]

The word hijra is Urdu, derived from the Arabic root hjr in its sense of "leaving one's tribe,"[5] and has been borrowed into Hindi. The Indian usage has traditionally been translated into English as "eunuch" or "hermaphrodite", where "the irregularity of the male genitalia is central to the definition".[6] However, in general the hijra are born with typically male physiology, only a few having been born with male intersex variations.[7] Historically, ceremonial initiation into the hijra community is said to have involved removal of a boy's penis, testicles and scrotum, without anaesthetic, at or around puberty.[citation needed] However, according to Mumbai health organisation The Humsafar Trust, only eight percent of hijras visiting their clinic are nirwaan (castrated).[citation needed]