Dhaka: ‘Hijras’ are a part of every society. Society does shun them, but still they are found everywhere. This exclusive copy is about the ‘third gender’ hijras as known to the government officially. These ‘third gender’ or the hijras are a tight-knit community of transgender individuals in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
A Danish photographer by the name Jan Moeller Hansen visited the Dhaka city in Bangladesh from 2010 and 2012 in order to meet and learn about the hijras in the Bangladesh society. Jan shared his feelings with The Daily Mail where he said, ‘After some years living in Dhaka, I realised that the hijras were some of the most open, proud, self-conscious and dignified people that I have met during my five years in Bangladesh. Due to their different sexuality, appearance and behaviour and how they were treated by society, they had developed their own family structures and bonds.Jan also added that, ‘I found that the bonds and relations in the hijra families are very strong and necessary in order for them to keep their identity and to survive in society.’
Often practising sex workers, most hijras are born male, but see themselves as neither man or woman.
Mr Hansen said: ‘Becoming a real hijra often means going through the emasculation ritual by removal of the penis and testicles. ‘The emasculation ritual transforms an impotent man into a potentially powerful person.’ Their segregation from society has caused the Hijras to form in to small, extremely bonded groups.
In recent years, the hijras now fighting for their rights as equals and individuals.
Jan said: ‘The hijras are fighting for their rights, and they want to be treated equally among other people. They want others to know that they are also normal human beings.
‘They want to be allowed to lead a normal life like others. The hijras claim that others do not understand their life, gender and sexuality. They want the society and the government to recognise them with equally rights as other human beings.’