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India's Third Gender
Photographer: Miguel Candela
Exhibit Title: India's Third Gender
Location: Bangalore and Delhi, India
Known to provide good luck in religious ceremonies, the 'hijra' -term known in India to men who are castrated but who do not complete the sex change process- transvestites and transgenders also face the inflexibility of a society that condemns them and suffer police abuse, begging and prostitution, often under the control of mafias. They belong to the social group most discriminated in India.
A primary reason of the exclusion is the lack of legal recognition of the gender status of the Hijras and other transgender people. It is the major obstacle that often prevent them in exercising their rights. Society denies them of employment which leads them to prostitution and begging.
The blessing of a 'hijra' is considered necessary for newborns and newlyweds to succeed. These services are paid well but not as much as sex. Hence, most of them prefer to sell their bodies on the streets. The 'hijras' prostitutes suffer a high prevalence of HIV and syphilis. They are a weak and easy target unbacked by society.
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