While LGBT Indians certainly cannot be under the illusion that court systems are benevolent allies or sympathetic protectors--routine police brutality against hijras
and blackmail threats to gay men caught cruising is prevalent but undocumented--they also cannot afford to relinquish the court systems as a map of contestation.
There are, of course, other such gender nonconformists in cultures around the world: the two-spirit berdaches of Native American peoples, the hijras
of India and Pakistan, and the Thai kathoeys.
Simply for appearing in public, hijras
could be arrested and jailed for up to two years.
In India, for example, hijras
are accepted as a "third" gender (Nanda, 2003).
Active syphilis rates also declined among Hijras
, but remained similar in MSM and MSW.
The law against 'unnatural sex' that was in all erstwhile British colonies as Section 377 of the Penal Code, and which is used to harass and penalise hijras
and gay men, continues to be in effect in India today (even though this has long been removed in the United Kingdom).
In India eunichs, known as Hijras
, are considered neither male nor female, but dress and live as women.
Though some hijras
refer to themselves in the feminine, others of them say that they belong to a third gender and are neither men nor women.
The piece ends with the classic Shakespearean/ Bollywood multiple weddings, and the local hijras
arrive on the scene to bless all the unions.
Nanda, Neither Man nor Woman: The Hijras
of India, 1999; S.
This documentary offers a rare insight into the lives of four Indian hijras
or eunuchs as theyattendthe annual Koovagam Festival, the biggest eunuch gathering in India.
The idea this time around, one presumes, is that leaders will stitch battered women, Hijras
, the backward castes and classes, Dalits and Muslims into an alternative 'transnational' class, one that win challenge the leadership of the 'technopreneurs' as well as displacing [sic] the older class and national unities.