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See also: Hijra


Etymology 1[edit]

Arabic هجرة (híjra, departure, exodus), referring to Muhammad’s flight from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE; from the verb هجر (hájara, emigrate, to abandon)


hijra (plural hijras)

  1. alternative case form of Hijra
Usage notes[edit]

Usually capitalized.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Urdu ہیجڑا (hījṛā) / Hindi हीजड़ा (hījṛā).

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hijra (plural hijras)

  1. (sometimes offensive, see usage notes) A member of a third gender found in India and Pakistan.
    • 1995 Gayatri Reddy, With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India (Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, & Culture) ISBN: 0226707563 [1]
      With Respect to Sex is an intimate ethnography that offers a provocative account of sexual and social difference in India. The subjects of this study are hijras or the "third sex" of India, individuals who occupy a unique, liminal space between male and female, sacred and profane. Hijras are men who sacrifice their genitalia to a goddess in return for the power to confer fertility on newlyweds and newborn children, a ritual role they are respected for, at the same time as they are stigmatized for their ambiguous sexuality. (review).
    • 1994: John Irving: A Son of the Circus: Bloomsbury ISBN 0747517630 P.57.
      "They are an accepted third gender in India; they are called hijras - an Urdu word of masculine gender meaning hermaphrodite. But hijras are not born hermaphrodites, they are emasculated - hence eunuch is the truer word for them....And hijras dress as women, hence the term "eunich transvestite" comes closest to what they are.
    • 2013: Bram Steenhuisen: "A Second Look at Pakistan’s Third Gender"
Usage notes[edit]

This term is sometimes considered offensive (derogatory) in Pakistan, and خواجه سرا (khawaja sara) may be used instead.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Positive Impact, A Second Look at Pakistan's Third Gender: The April 25th (2009) decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court to officially recognize transgender people as the third gender marked a groundbreaking development that has gone relatively unnoticed by the outside world. It was the most significant judgment in a series of decisions the Court has taken over the last year and a half aimed at protecting the rights of the Khawaja Sara – a term encompassing transvestites, transsexuals and transgender people. There are signs that these decisions are already starting to bear fruit in this conservative nation of 187 million people. “It really is unbelievable” says Sanam Faqueer, an activist from the southern city of Sukkur and focal person on Khawaja Sara issues for the provincial government of Sindh. “Finally there is a real chance our problems are starting to be addressed.”