Click here to read this text


Critique Essay Law/Legal Nonfiction Social Sciences

Being Eunuch, the Violence Faced by Hijra’s Involved in Sex Work—A Case Study

By Rekha Pande, 2018

The transgenders, known as Hijra’s (Eunuchs), in India have been one of the marginalised sections of society and have remained outside the dominant discourse of marginality. The problem becomes more compounded if they are involved in sex work. The present paper focuses on the violence faced by the Hijra community involved in sex work, with a case study from Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Hijra’s are physiological males who have feminine gender identity, adopt feminine gender roles and wear women’s clothing and, a large number of them are into sex work. Historically, sex workers have been portrayed variously as purveyors of disease, social evils and public nuisance. Traditionally, sex work is seen as a female occupation and majority of the academic studies and policy reports focus on girls and women in the sex industry, particularly on street-based sex workers which emphasises a specific range of issues and problems. However, this does not include the men and the transgender group who sell sex and constitute a large section of the sex industry. The present paper analyses the lives of fifty Hijra’s involved in sex work and looks at the physical, emotional and psychological violence faced by them in the day-to-day life. The focus of this paper is to summarise the various issues faced by Hijra’s by using the social exclusion framework, and highlight the relation between this exclusion and vulnerability. We conclude by showing how the Hijra identity is rooted in a multiplicity of social differences; that their sexual identities are fluid, shifting and multivalent; and that lived experiences and narratives of the Hijra’s of Hyderabad show that just being a eunuch is enough for the kind of violence that they face in their day-to-day lives

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.