©Sarmede Gabriel Pacheco - The flying elephants (Orissa-India)”Once upon a time, the whole sky was criss-crossed by flying elephants..”Tale told by Luigi Dal Cin
POL HOUSE DOORWAY ©artnlight
Restored traditional Pol house, an all wood structure, with wood carved facade, some 300 to 400 years old, Ahmedabad, Gujarat state, India, Asia
Hijras - India’s Third Sex or Sexual Slaves?
These identities have no exact match in the modern Western taxonomy of gender and sexual orientation, and challenge Western ideas of sex and gender. Most are born apparently male, but some may be intersex (with ambiguous genitalia). They are often perceived as a third sex, and most see themselves as neither men nor women. However, some may see themselves (or be seen as) females, feminine males or androgynes.
Some, especially those who speak English and are influenced by international discourses around sexual minorities may identify as transgender or transsexual women.
Unlike some Western transsexual women, hijras generally do not attempt to pass as women. Reportedly, few have genital modifications, although some certainly do, and some consider nirwaan (“castrated”) hijras to be the “true” hijras.
Most hijras live at the margins of society with very low status; the very word “hijra” is sometimes used in a derogatory manner. Few employment opportunities are available to hijras. Many get their income from performing at ceremonies, begging, or sex work—an occupation of eunuchs also recorded in pre-modern times. Violence against hijras, especially hijra sex workers, is often brutal, and occurs in public spaces, police stations, prisons, and their homes.
In India, condom use has a bad reputation. Indians think condom use is for prostitutes and consequently, they do not take advantage of their protection during intercourse. Billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda decided to address this issue through a new campaign that offers a condom ringtone sung by an a cappella group entitled “Condom, Condom.” Apparently, those who download the ringtone appear smart and responsible, according to a recent article on CNN.com.