The derogatory term “hijra” is often associated with those ostracized from the society. Officially they are recognized as the Third Gender by the government, being neither completely male nor female. They are often considered to be “different” or “other” and even “abnormal”.
But are they really “different” or “abnormal?”
Here is the story of a “Hijra” who could not father a child but is a proud parent of an MBA graduate.
How is that possible?
Coming from an Orthodox family their marriage had been arranged immediately after their birth. Being young and unaware they were forced to follow the ill tradition of child marriage. But as time passed unlike other boys he found no physical change in himself. As he says,
“Boys of my age used to have a lot of physical changes and it used to upset me, but I never discussed such issue with my friends or family and just kept the problem with myself. … (finally,) after consulting a doctor I finally came to know that I am a third gender (Hijra) and I was born intersex with no reproductive system.”
What could he have felt?
“My life came down crashing and I was broken. I was scared of telling about my identity to anyone, even my family didn’t know about this. By that time I was 22 and marriage was on cards and I was clueless, I didn’t wanted to spoil that girl’s life but due to our child marriage agreement we had to get married. Few years into the marriage and I was feeling very guilty of cheating my partner with my identity. I was intersex and was unable to satisfy her sexual desires. I had no reproductive organ in my body. Basically I felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body.”
The mental trauma he must have gone through is evident through what he’s said. The plight doesn’t end here as he continues,
“One fine day I decided to break the silence and told the truth to my family including my wife. Soon I was estranged from family and ostracized from the society. I advised my wife to start a new life by getting married to someone else. The decision to become a hijra was traumatic.”
How would the family react?
The family couldn’t have supported with the social stigma attached to “hijra”. These “hijras” are forced to have a separate community itself. They are made to feel like they aren’t a part of the “whole”.
“Once one becomes a hijra the doors to one’s earlier life are shut forever. It isn’t easy for a hijra to come to terms with his new life. The family, and indeed society as a whole, reacts strangely. Leaving my past behind I ran away to a place with no plan in mind, I didn’t know how will I earn a livelihood or where will my next meal come from. But I just wanted to run away from myself.”
The transformation of the identity was made even more troublesome, thanks to the society!
“My quest to be a woman lead me to a totally different life. For being taunted on my state of being, where I was not accepted by my birth family and yet I found my family in other people like me.”
As she was getting adjusted to the new life and a fresh start she says,
“Everything seemed fine and I was enjoying my hijrahood and suddenly one morning my wife turned up at my door with a small boy in hand.”
As a husband when he knew he couldn’t fulfill his wife’s expectations he left her. She remarried and he began a life which not many would have chosen. The man she remarried was an alcoholic who physically abused her. She came back to this “hijra” to seek help. This “abnormal” human being as we consider “hijra” to give shelter to this woman. The baby boy was given the support and care which he never received from his own father.
This eye-opening story captured by Humans of Amdabad shows how we have been stigmatizing the “hijra”. They have been ostracized and made to feel different, “abnormal” but are they really? You have one example here but there would be many more. This person who was made to feel the “other” has been a more responsible father, isn’t this “normal” man?