The Hijras of India

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Neither Man Nor Woman: The Hijras of India

In our culture, it is for us a belief and an evidence tha the biological term and gender term of “sex” refers for two sexes, males and females. Throught this book Neither Man Nor Woman by Serena Nanda, focused on the hijras of India, a community of outside members, I will examine how hijras are categorized as a third sex group and how homosexuality and transexuality takes place in their community with the importance for a hijras of having a husband. Second, I will analyze the roles of the hijras in their society through the importance of those powerful rituals. Third topic that I will discuss will be how prostitution is part of their economical living and how a Guru gains power and authority over prostitutes. The hijras are a group of people in India, who constitute what is known in India as the third gender status. The meaning of the third gender for the Indians and also for their communities is to be neither men nor women. In fact Nanda argues that some hijras come from inderterminate background where sometimes baby are born male, female or intersexes. Some also come from males either failing to develop a male body at puberty or either choose to be part of the hijras community by choice. In the indian religion, the author shows that the third sex gender exist and always had a presence through mythological reference. The inability of the hijras to reproduce show that hijras is a community built by outside members that make a conscious choice to join other members. The desire to join this community often comes after the “ homosexual” desires of adolescence. The hijras community is viewed by many of us as a homosexual community; however I would want to argue that homosexuality can be viewed differently by the Indian culture. To us the term gay or homosexual for a man usually means the sexually attraction and relationship with other men. In the book Nanda gives us two examples of how hijras perceive and classify...
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