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Hijras

Hijras are communities of male-assigned individuals on the Indian subcontinent (including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan) who take on many traditionally feminine attributes. While hijras’ origins can be traced to ancient religious texts and practices, in recent decades, they have received notable public and scholarly attention and are arguably the most well-known example of a nonmale/nonfemale gender role in the world today. However, this visibility has not always resulted in greater acceptance and, in some cases, seems to have had the opposite effect. Hijras continue to experience high rates of harassment and violence, even though many of the countries in the region granted them legal recognition and some political rights in the 2010s.

Defining Hijras

Hijras have commonly been misunderstood by researchers, government officials, and the popular ...

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