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Transgender & HIV

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Sex & Gender
  • A person’s Sex is based on biology.
  • A person’s Gender is defined as “The cultural construction of beliefs and behaviors considered appropriate for each sex” (Schultz and Lavenda 237).
Transgender – What does it mean?
  • A transgender person is someone who identifies with a gender role that differs from that culturally linked to their physical sex.
  • A transgender person may identify with the male or female gender role or see themselves as the 3rd gender.
Transgender Explained
Usually male cross – dressers for whom dressing as woman is a fetish. Heterosexual

Humans born with ambiguous genitalia. e.g. may be born with penis and ovaries

Transsexuals have issues or problems with their biological sex. They feel that they have been born in the wrong body. Transsexuals will often opt for surgery to become the sex they identify with.
Most nirvan (castrated or post–op) hijras are therefore transsexuals in the clinical sense

Drag Queeen – Satla Kothis
Male cross dresser. These men cross dress in order to Attract men for sexual interaction/Intercourse.

Transgender – A Global Perspective
Western Society: e.g. United Kingdom, USA
In western society two gender categories exist male and female. However, the concept of transgender communities is widely accepted. Transvestites, drag queens, transsexuals and hermaphrodites are all categories recognised in the western world. However they are not always accepted or respected.

Oman: Xanith
The Xanith are regarded as an in–between category, neither men nor women. Under Islamic law, Xanith have all the rights of a man. The Xanith belongs to the category of the 3rd gender. (Shapiro 2005).

India: Hijra/Ali
In India the Hijra/ Ali are regarded as belonging to a 3rd gender category, they are neither men or women. They are born with the physical sex of a male but identify with aspects of the female gender role. Hijra’s have few rights are not recognised by Indian law.

ASIA & The 3rd Gender
3rd Gender
The terms third gender and third sex describe individuals who are considered to be neither women nor men, as well as the social category present in those societies who recognize three or more genders.

3rd Gender
The concept of a 3rd gender is common in Asia. Including the Hijras of India and Bangladesh , and the kathoeys (or “Ladyboys”) of Thailand.

Transgender in India
The Humsafar trust estimates that there are between 5 and 6 million Hijras in India
The South
  • Ali is often the name given to those in the south who were born as men but identify with the 3rd gender.
  • Ali is the traditional Tamil construction of a 3rd gender. Ali’s are neither considered men or women.
The North
  • Hijra is often the name given to the people in the North of India who were born as men but identify with a 3rd gender.
  • Hijra’s have often undergone religious castration and dress like women.
  • Hijra’s have traditionally played a religious role in marriages and births.
Pradeep (2002) ‘Interventions among Men Who have Sex with Men’ in Panda et al (eds), Living with the AIDS virus – the epidemic and the response in India New Delhi:Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd.

Hijras and Hinduism
Hijras and Hinduism
In traditional Indian society Hijras played a religious role in births and marriages

Hijras are particularly associated with the worship of Bahuchara Mata, a version of the Mother Goddess, for whose sake they undergo emasculation.

In return for their emasculation, the Goddess gives them the power to bless people with fertility which explains their religious role in births and marriages.

The performances that Hijras perform at births and marriages are called badhai, a reference to the gifts of cash and goods that they receive as payment on these occasions.

Hijras are thought to have the power to bless and curse a family’s fertility. Explaining why Hijras are often treated ’with a combination of mockery and fear’ (Nanda 9).




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