Transgendered Voices, Inc has decided to outsource the manufacturing of transgender clothing to India. They want the hijra community to make the clothing.
This article raises conflicting feelings in me. On one hand I know am aware of how poor the hijra community and much on India is at the moment. To see a company reaching out to the hijras to do something for people in similar situation and allowing them to make more money makes me happy. At the same time Jeffords says: “Once they start working, they will earn the respect they deserve and merge into the social fold,”. This irritates me because it makes assumptions about Indian culture that I don't believe are true. Yes, in America, this is more than true. People who contribute to society are given respect. Indian society, and correct me if I am wrong, is still highly caste based (if not entirely) and while politically and legally this may not be the case, socially this is more true than not. No matter what they contribute to their society they will probably remain outcasts. It seems that their role has been placed on them because of their caste. I think the good to come out of all of this is that the quality of a hijras life may improve and this may help curb the prostitution that is helping cause the large number of AIDS victims within the community. Of course, all the money a chela makes could go to the guru who will reap the benefits of the income more than her chelas.
What is your reaction and opinion?