Friday, April 29, 2005

Castration - forced or choice

When I presented my thesis to the committee, the one thing all the men focused on was the issue of castration. Were hijras forced into the surgery or did they go willingly. I explained that it seemed to be a combination of both depending on the group each hijra was part of.
This article mentions a recent story about a man who claimed to have been forced into the surgery by the hijras, but the story itself defends the community with other hijras claiming that no guru would do that.

Hijra's, Pakistan, and HIV Awareness

It seems clear that the Hijra's of India have a different role and lifestyle than those in Pakistan. Religion probably plays a huge role in those differences (between Muslim and Hinduism). The Hijra's in Pakistan, sadly, seem to be little more than prostitutes. As a result, HIV/AIDS awareness is a major issue.
One person seems to be trying to make the Pakistan Hijras aware of the issue though....

Thursday, April 28, 2005

News Updates - Passport Application "Sex Options"

This is just the first of a bunch of news updates I have from Google. I apologize for holding on to these for so long.

From Calcutta's The Telegraph, a opinion piece on some recent changes to the passport application form. They have added "E" to the M/F option on this form. The E stands for Eunuch and is on the web version of the passport application.
While this is labeled part of the "Opinion" section of this paper, there seems to be little of it. It does recap, briefly, the recent activities of the community in politics. It also does raise the question about members of the hijra community who are not eunuchs (a reference to those who have not yet gone through the surgery) and when these changes will make their way beyond passport applications.

I looked into this and there is an option for Eunuchs to signify this as their sex. If you look at the actual passport application, it only has the written option of Male or Female, but the instructions for the application signify that if you are a Eunuch you should write E in the space.

Holi - Festival of Colors

About a month ago, the Festival of Colors, Holi, was celebrated in India. In Bhopal, the hijra community took part of the celebration. Like with almost every article about the community, the short bit of news is followed by a more lengthy (but still brief) description of the community. Still, there seemed to be a positive response from celebrants and this is the 5th year the community has participated.

More information on Holi, The Festival of Colors