Pakistan's hijras deserve acceptance

Published: May 26, 2010

Pakistan’s hijras deserve acceptance

A great challenge for Pakistan has been crafting a sense of shared identity. But with much of the ensuing identity politics spiralling into sectarian and communal violence in recent decades, it isn’t surprising that minorities here face the worst forms of neglect and persecution.

There is no more maligned group of citizens in our country than those from its transgender community. Known variously as eunuchs, transgender or, in Urdu and Hindi, as hijras, they trace their origins to the pre-British royal courts of the Mughal empire and possibly even earlier, and are found not just in Pakistan but across the subcontinent. Under the Raj, the British tried to ban hijras as a breach of public decency but inevitably failed.

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