a recognised third-gender on the Indian subcontinent, comprised of people who are either eunucs, intersex or transgender. The Hijra go by many other names depending on the language, with a well-documented history.
Many Hijra face discrimination, and during the time of the British Raj (when the Indian subcontinent was colonialised by the British), many Hijra faced persecution and prosecution.
Hijra, as a term, is sometimes rejected by the people it describes in favour of other terms – but nonetheless, it is a cultural term that shouldn’t be applied to, or used by, people outside of that culture.
This is a culturally-specific term, and should not be used as a gender identity by those not from that culture. Indeed, one should exercise caution using the term at all.
Originally published: 12th February, 2021
Last modified: 15th January, 2022