WATCH: India's Newly Recognized Hijra Community Reminds Citizens to Buckle Up
BY Parker Marie Molloy
May 08 2014 12:32 PM ET
In a recent public service announcement, a group of transgender Indian hijras calling themselves The Seatbelt Crew advocated for driver safety and seatbelt use in a country marred by a high number of driving-related fatalities.
In 2012, India accounted for more than 10 percent of the world's traffic-related deaths, reporting 142,485 such fatalities. This is more than four times as many road deaths as the United States reports on average.
Hijra is a term traditionally used to describe some members of India's transgender population. While hijras are often revered as religious entities with the ability to provide blessings, the group also faces discrimination and poverty relative to India's other citizens.
Last month, an Indian Supreme Court ruling paved the way for the legal acknowledgement of a third gender, outside the realm of "male"and "female." While some trangender Indians identify as male, and some identify as female, many within the hijra and other gender-nonconforming communities identify as a third gender, which this ruling now instructs the Indian government to recognize and protect as it does other minority groups in the country.
Watch the Seatbelt Crew's PSA below.