Transgender American Culture

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Before European colonization, there have been many forms of transgendered cultures that used to exist. As globalization occurred and Christian ideals spread, transgendered cultures were stigmatized and banned. In Indian culture, however, still exists a “third-gender” known as hijra. The term hijra applies to a group of people mainly in South Asian who identify themselves as a “third gender” because they are neither female nor male. In ancient India, the hijra community consisted of impotent men, barren women, those who were born intersex, and hermaphrodites; in contrast, today hijra refers to those who are intersex or born male that dress and live life as women. Today many hijra are marginalized in Indian society, and have resorted to prostitution…show more content…
The popular understanding of hijras as a “third-sex” or an alternative sex and gender is asserted on a model of intersexuality (Brettel and Fishel 224). Most often people associate hijras with a biological male of both functional and physical abnormalities of the reproductive system (although many do not); in addition, it is also known for women who are unable to menstruate also become hijra (Id.). If they are not born with a reproductive defect, s/he must emasculate himself through and act interpreted by hijra alike known as “rebirth” (Id.). Whether or not hijras are “made” or “born,” their identity is primarily perceived as a loss of “manliness” (Id.) Hijras are considered “men minus men” amongst many scholars that incorporate many female-gendered aspects of identity into their daily lives. Also, this understanding is accompanied with the fact that hijras are not women as their inability to bear children stands as the most indicative attribute of this construct (Id.). With these standards of hijra, they can be considered both “not-men” and “not-women,” placing them outside the binary frame of gender into a “third” or alternative gender…show more content…
By going through the ordeals of the emasculation ritual, it sanctions a full-fledged hijra the power to perform at births and weddings because they are regarded as vessels holding the power of the mother goddess (Id.). Bahuchara Mata is one of the various interpretations of the Mother Goddess in Hinduism and she is the hijras’ main object of devotion (Penrose, "Hidden In History: Female Homoeroticism And Women Of A 'Third Nature' In The South Asian Past"). It is believed by all hijra, that Bahuchara Mata calls impotent males in their dreams to ask to them to voluntary cut off their genitals, act in addition to dressing like a woman, and become her servant (Ibid.). It is considered very dangerous to reject the wishes of the Mother Goddess in the Hindu religion, and there is a belief that those men who choose to reject her will be punished in future reincarnations (Id.). The fear of the Mother Goddess is what many scholars believe pushes many men in India to cut off their genitalia and become hijra (Id.). In ancient times, the emasculation ritual often took place in a temple, but in India’s modern society the emasculation ritual has been outlawed forcing prospective hijra to search for clinics that will do the operation usually under the counter (Reddy 72). By looking at the hijra emasculation ritual in addition to their

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