Report: Time to end fear of Indian hijras now

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THIS article in South Africa’s online publication The Daily Maverick about hijras was written in the aftermath of Sunday’s tragic fire that killed 13 hijras attending a ceremony in the Nandnagary neighbourhood of east Delhi.

“The group is composed of transvestites, transsexuals, intersex individuals, and castrated men.” “Castrated men”? We doubt that hijras identify themselves as being men, but hijras certainly include intersex people and a number of hijras are members of OII in India. The Ekta Foundation in Mumbai is an Indian OII affiliate organization, run by Abhirami Atharv.

“India’s eunuchs” may live in a “strange, sad world” by virtue of how they have been so mistreated for centuries since the British Raj turned traditional Indian respect for hijras into fear and contempt. But the Raj is long gone from the great Indian subcontinent and there is no point in perpetuating yet another destructive legacy of British colonialism.

We call on the state and federal governments of India to restore traditional respect for hijras one and all. Time for all Indians, hijra and non-hijra, intersex and non-intersex, to obtain full equality and fundamental human rights.