Monday, October 20, 2008

Baby Taking

In the 9th century BC, eunuchs (Hijras) first appeared in China. Nowadays, there are not any left in China, but they make up part of India’s population. In India, they are not accepted by the government, and are unable to receive passports or driving licenses. They are also unable to get jobs like other people. They make a living by begging, dancing, blessing, and prostitution. The people of India believe that the Hijras possess special powers that allow them to bring luck and fertility to a person. When a baby is born, the Hijras are always there quickly to bless the baby. What interests me most about this, is that occasionally the baby will be born a hermaphrodite, or with genital deformities. When this happens, the Hijras say that the baby is one of them, and they need the baby. The families of these just born children usually hand the baby over to avoid humiliation in the community. The fact that parents can just hand their newborn over is completely over my head. I cannot understand it at all. They hand their child over into a life that won’t be that great.

Families don’t just desert the children when they are babies though. If at any time in their lives a Hijra announces that they are in fact a Hijra to their families, they will also be disowned then. The fact is though, that the Hijras don’t choose to become a Hijra, they are born that way. As one Hijra said, “A Hijra has a man’s body, but the soul of a woman.” The Hijras do not choose to become Hijras; it is what feels natural to them. We cannot choose who we are, or who we would like to be. The transvestites in American undergo a much different gender transformation than that of the Hijras. In my next blog entry I will be exploring the differences.

Works Cited:

Image from: fashion-or-old-favourite/

Dutt, Nabanita
2002 Eunuchs-India's Third Gender. Electronic Document,, accessed October 20, 2008.

Harvey, Nick
2008 India's Transgendered-the Hijras. Electronic Document,, accessed October 20, 2008.

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