The third gender is finally getting its long withheld recognition. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is considering adding the gender neutral honorific, Mx, to its annals. The addition is being made for the proper representation of the transgender community in the English language. It will also help those who do not wish to disclose their gender.Jonathan Dent, assistant editor on the OED, told the Sunday Times that Mx will be the first honorific to be included in the English language as an addition to the already existent ones.He said that the addition shows how the English language helps “people using language in ways that suit them rather than letting language dictate identity to them.”
The honorific has already been official in Brighton and Hove city council in Sussex for two years. The Royal Mail has also adopted it due to customer request.
However, Devayani, a member of the transgender community and of NGO Privartan Path in Delhi, which works for the empowerment of marginalized communities told NewsGram, “It is good that such things are happening, but they can’t improve our lives. The social stigma attached to the transgender community makes it very difficult for us to fit in. Such things aren’t practical.”
New Delhi, September 25, 2017: Stories centered around hijras, kinners, or Eunuchs are always a matter of curiosity, since we hardly know anything about them except the superficial perception we have or had when we see them. We come across a number of myths, anecdotes about the third gender of India, but you’ll be startled to know certain facts about them that you were never aware of!
Let’s take a look at 10 astonishing facts about hijras, or the third gender of India:
Their origin dates back to the ancient times: Kinners or Hijaras, as they are called, have existed since long. They have been mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata and in Islam where they served in the harems of the Mughals.
2. What did they do for living, in older times: Initially, they earned their bread by serving women of wealthy families. They would do their chores and even shopping for them. They also served as the guards of these women.
3. Ever wondered how a new Eunuch is created?: The name given to the ceremony when a new Eunuch is born, is Nirvana. The ceremony includes the process of emasculation, in which the penis and testicles of the physiological male is removed. The process, as they say, turns the impotent male, into a potent Eunuch.
4. Their cremation is a very private affair: Their cremation is done in the regular way, however, involves very few close people. They are believed to carry out the rituals at night.
5. They can foretell future: Eunuch gurus are believed to have been blessed with the quality of clairvoyance. They can perceive events in the future. It is also believed that they are even able to foresee their death.
6. They pray for forgiveness when they happen to foresee their death: They consider their birth as a Eunuch, the result of their sins, that’s why they pray for forgiveness so they are not born as a Eunuch in their next birth.
7. Dying Eunuch is considered ‘God-like‘: Other kinners on hearing the news of an Eunuch being on deathbed, come from different places, seeking the blessings of the dying Eunuch.
8. Hijras worship the Ardhanarishvara form of Lord shiva: The famous Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva, in which half of the God is a woman indicates Shiva as united with his female creative power, shakti. Hijras worship lord Shiva, since they can closely identify themselves with the god.
9. The annual festival of hijras at Koovagam: Koovagam is a small village located 200 miles south of Madras. It is here that the annual festival of Eunuch takes place. On the occasion of Chitrai Purnima, Kinners experience the ceremony of marriage which is then, followed by widowhood.
10. The legend of Bahuchara Mata: Bahuchara Mata, an incarnation of Maa Durga, according to the tales, was married to a man who would run into the woods and act like a woman. Angered with this, one day she cursed him to become an Eunuch. They pray Bahuchara Mata for forgiveness so they would be born with a clear gender in their next birth.
-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha
Delhi-NCR to hold a one-of-its-kind national beauty pageant for Indian trans-women
The competition aims to augment acceptability of the minority community and help them find stable jobs
New Delhi, August 23, 2017 : The struggle for acceptance, visibility and protection by transgender individuals has a long history. Of late, the issue has come under radar as steps are now being taken to bring the community at par with the mainstream society. To further these efforts, the capital city is now gearing up to host a one-of its-kind beauty pageant for Indian trans-women on August 27.
In this unique competition which will be hosted in Gurugram (Delhi-NCR region) sixteen trans-women from all over the country will compete for the coveted title of ‘Miss Transqueen India 2017‘.
The winner of the crown will also get an opportunity to represent India at the ‘Miss International Transqueen’ which has been scheduled to take place in Thailand next year.
The Miss Transqueen 2017 competition aims celebrate trans beauty and to inculcate confidence among Indian trans-women who are often self-stigmatized due to the society’s alien behavior.
More recently, Kerala hosted the first ever Indian transgender beauty pageant on June 15 which was attended by people in large numbers.
The Miss Transqueen Indian 2017 event is being organized and managed by the event-management firm Suhani Dreamcatchers. According to a report by PTI, Reena Rai, the founder of the firm highlighted that transgender people are often made to feel ‘different’ in the Indian society, who think they are only good enough for begging or unskilled work. “We want to change this. Our beauty pageant and its grooming sessions offer hope and is a symbol for change,” she said.
The competition bears its roots in India’s various campaigns for gender equality and empowerment, and aims to augment acceptance of trans-women in the Indian society and help them find respectable work in different mainstream industries like fashion, television, films and the likes.
The 16 shortlisted participants, who are now preparing for the Delhi competition, were chosen after several rounds of nationwide auditions that saw as many as 1,500 entries. The participants have also undergone rigorous training under close supervision of several well-known grooming experts from the industry.
Educator and grooming expert Avleen Khokhar, who is also associated with the event, believes in the importance of such platforms to empower the third gender.
According to her, “The transgender community is India is being denied education and jobs due to persistent discrimination.” She strongly propagates that competitions and platforms like these are not only necessary to further inclusion of this minority community into the mainstream Indian society but also provide the third gender with “an opportunity to embrace and empower themselves.”
The event, which is slated for August 27, is expected to host big names from the country. The winner of the pageant will be crowned by Miss Transsexual Australia International 2017 Laetica Phylliscia Raveena.
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July 25, 2017: In the midst of a classic world, there exist the third gender dilemma. Eunuch, Hijra or Kinnar – as we would call them have a life of their own. The need to emphasize whether they have a life or not lies simply on our stance towards them. In the earlier times, this category of gender had a special place in the royal manor of the king. They were used to guard women of royal families but with the passage of time, the need to hijras has arisen. The value of the third gender has degraded to such a level that it has become difficult to bring back their esteem in the present times.
Here is what you need to know about the third gender:
-Hijras are formed by the process of emasculation which makes a man less potent. Hijras remove their genitals to complete the further transformation. They also dress like females, which adds to the look more austerity.
It is believed that every hijra has its guru who is also a hijra. The guru predicts the date of demise which is again believed by many to be 100% accurate. Once the death date is revealed, the hijra starts worshipping their god to forgive him for the sins committed in the past as a clear indication of giving them the birth of a clear gender.
Hijras are not only cursed when alive, even their corpse is beaten to scare the soul for not coming to earth as a third gender. The rituals involve ripping off their clothes and hanging the body upside down for the scavengers to feed on them. Nevertheless, some observation in the present also conveys the peaceful and respectful departure of the soul of Hijras. The corpse is wrapped in a white cloth and all the ornaments are taken off from their bodies so that nothing stops the soul from departing the body of a third gender. Hindus cremate the body while the Muslim burry it. Prayers are held to offer them a good afterlife and forgive them for their sins.
Hijras are special people whose blessings and curses are the most powerful. Hence it is always advised to never deny giving them money when they preside on occasions like child birth, marriage, or buying a new property.
The Hijras seen on traffic lights have been castrated to become members of the third gender by some of the people involved in human trafficking in order to earn money because by-birth Hijras never beg to anyone.
– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter @Nainamishr94
NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.