Monday, April 13, 2009

Hermaphrodites In Pakistan are called, "Hijras"

In the culture of South Asia, a hijra, is usually considered a member of "the third gender" — neither man nor woman. Most are physically male or intersex, but some are female. Hijras usually refer to themselves linguistically as female, and usually dress as women. Although they are usually referred to in English as "eunuchs". Here is an article from a person who happen to cross paths with a group of "Hijras":

Black or white. Male or female. Not always. There exists a gray area as part of the human race that doesn't fit the 'he' or 'she' category. The in-between gender.

My friend and I were sitting at the famous "Benazir Kulfi" shop in Lahore, Pakistan. It was around 11 p.m. but the street was exhilaratingly alive. We had just started devouring a popular Pakistani desert known as kulfi - it's a whole bar in the shape of a horizontal drum of frozen, flavored milk when I spotted a tall hijra across the street; you can recognize them anywhere, by the way they dress, by the way they carry themselves. I remember the first time I met a 'hijra' in Pakistan many years ago walking around my grandmother's neighborhood, dancing for interested-looking people just for a few rupees. My cousin and I had stopped to watch the exaggerated dance to an Indian song the hijra was singing in a man's voice. Every time I saw them, they were always dressed as women either begging at traffic lights, entertaining people by dancing and singing in their usually hoarse voice....

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