refers to transgender, intersex or eunuchs living in south Asia. Thehistory of in India and other surrounding countries can betraced back to the ancient times, about four thousand years ago(Reddy, 17). In the ancient civilization, although aretransgender, they were considered to have reproductive powers whichbrought about fertility and luck. This means that the society wasmore tolerance to the in the past. However, over the years, have faced a lot of gender based discrimination and harassment(Harvey, 1). During British rule in India, the community fortunes inthe country changed significantly as India adopted the English socialand political systems. The British influence resulted into creationsocial classes. Additionally, in 1897, the British colonialists,through the Indian administrators started enforcing laws thatcategorized eunuchs as criminals. Since then, have beensubjected to ostracized and subjected to public ridiculed because ofcross dressing. The discrimination and unfair treatment has forcedthem to establish their own social groups and communities to fightfor their right and support each other. Additionally, these groupsgive them financial and emotional support since in many cases theyare discriminated and have less social and economic opportunities. Asa result, many were forced to use secret language tocommunicate with each other as a means of protecting themselves. As aresult of social and economic discrimination, majority of livein poverty and result to prostitution and begging in the streets.Additionally, their gender has limited their accessibility to socialservices and health care. This combined with the dangerous work hasresulted into huge health disparity among s when compared to thegeneral population. For example, while the rate of HIV/AIDS in Mumbaiis estimated to be 0.3 percent, the rate is about 18 percent amongs. Despite this, there has been increased tolerance to inthe recent past. For example, due to the perceived auspicious in theancient Indian societies, s are increasing being invited tobirthday parties and weddings celebration (Khaleeli, 1).

Inaddition to the increasing tolerance in the society, there have beennumerous campaigns by non governmental organizations in India to pushfor legal recognition of as a minority group. This will enablethem access economic opportunities such as employment as well associal and welfare services. As a result, the supreme court of Indiamade a ruling that identified as a third gender. Althoughmajority of s would like to be indentified as male or female,depending on their choice, this is an important step towards securingthe rights of these minority groups (Khaleeli, 1). Other countrieswith high number of s have enacted laws that legally recognized. This includes Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The legalrecognition of community will ensure that they are given theprivileges of a minority groups in college admission and governmentemployments. According to NGOs reports, cases of harassment by lawenforcement officer, discrimination in employment and limited accessto health care will be a thing of the past. However, more need to bedone to secure the rights of this group, including overturning orabolishing laws that classified as criminals that is thesection 377 of the Indian penal code. According to this law, sexualrelation among s is criminal since it is contrary to the orderof nature (Khaleeli, 1).


Harvey,Nick.India`stransgendered – the s,(2008). Web,http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2008/05/hijras-indian-changing-rights

Khaleeli,Homa. :India`s third gender claims its place in law,(2014). Web,http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/apr/16/india-third-gender-claims-place-in-law

Reddy,Gayatri. WithRespect to Sex: Negotiating Identity in South India.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print.