Self-identification is a Matter of Language

Ein Artikel von:
Brindaalakshmi. K.

Gender in contemporary India

***Trigger warning: The content may trigger gender dysphoria***

Missing Vocabulary

Tamil is one of the rare exceptions among Indian languages to have words for trans woman (thirunangai) and trans man (thirunambi). These were coined by the state government of Tamil Nadu to recognise transgender persons. However, they continue to remain within the binary. There is no understanding beyond the binary except using the word transgender and the popular understanding continues to be Hijra. Within Indian contexts, Hijra and other similar socio-cultural identities are often used as slurs to insult individuals. Open identification as transgender could also result in violence. Hijra is an identity tainted by a long history of state violence against its own people.

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