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Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Outlook.com

Outliers, Looking Inside

Outlook met a few eunuchs who have tried to assimilate and lead normal lives despite being perceived as “anomalous”.

Outliers, Looking Inside
Outliers, Looking Inside
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

You might have heard: an east Delhi hall was gutted last week, killing 14 eunuchs and leaving 40 injured. It was a private community congregation: in cruel irony, a day of prayer for their forebears. It took a tragedy to renew focus on the secluded life led by India’s third sex, of whom there are an estimated 0.5 to one million. Kinnars or hijras, the popular terms for eunuchs, have been mythologised as servants and confidantes in royal courts. Today, they are known for performances at weddings, house-warmings and birth ceremonies, and begging or hustling for money, with the claps (and often sexually laced talk) being defiant trademarks.

But there is another, more positive, side to the story. There have been attempts to recognise their rights and grant them a formal identity. The 2011 Census made accommodation for them. In 2009, the Election Commission classified the third sex as “others” on voter identity cards. In 2005, Indian passport application forms were updated with three gender options: M, F, and E (for male,...

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