A Tribe in Peril: The Hijra in Mumbai

Alison McCauley's essay and photos show the forces that threaten daily living for the transgender hijra: AIDS, rape, and the Indian government.

BY Alison McCauley

March 06 2014 6:05 AM ET



Puja is an energetic and talkative hijra guru, who lives near King's Circle Station, in Mumbai. She told me that she is raped on average 10 days out of every month. She says, that the police won’t help and expects the reinstatement of Section 377 will only make police more likely to treat hijra abusively.

Puja, like most of the hijra sex workers, charges 100 IRP ($1.60) for 15 minutes. She says she has between six and 10 clients a day. She was in a relationship with a man for two years, but he has since bowed to family pressure and married and started a family. Puja still loves him and he comes to spend time with her at least once a month. She says, “It’s better than nothing.”

Tags: Transgender

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