On April 15, India’s Supreme court, in a landmark ruling, recognised transgender people as a third gender. In Hindi, transgenders are called hijras.
Four years ago I was at a meeting on transgenders in Mumbai. I was asked if I would share a room – with a transgender. I agreed but was somewhat anxious. I needn’t have worried. Chennai based Shanti was poised, smart and multi-talented. She was doing her Master’s, had a government job and was active in the transgender movement. However, there were others in the meeting not as fortunate as Shanti.
Most of them has some or no education, few marketable skills and made whatever living they did by pimping, prostitution, singing and dancing and begging.