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See also: Hijra


Etymology 1[edit]

Arabic هِجْرَة (hijra, departure, exodus).


hijra (plural hijras)

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

Usually capitalized.

Etymology 2[edit]

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From Hindi हीजड़ा (hījṛā), perhaps from Kannada [script needed] (heṇṇiga, impotent man, coward).

Alternative forms[edit]


hijra (plural hijras)

  1. A eunuch in South Asia, especially one who dresses as a woman; also, a male-born transvestite or transgender person, considered to constitute a third gender in India and Pakistan. [from 19th c.]
    • 1993, William Dalrymple, City of Djinns, Penguin 2004, page 172:
      When the Mughal court was disbanded, Muslim hijras were exposed for the first time to the other, Hindu, tradition of eunuchry.
    • 1994, John Irving, A Son of the Circus, Bloomsbury, ISBN 0747517630, page 57:
      "They are an accepted third gender in India; they are called hijras – an Urdu word of masculine gender meaning hermaphrodite."
    • 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]:
      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.
    • 1997, Kiran Nagarkar, Cuckold, HarperCollins 2013, page 523:
      The hijadas of the city who share their genderless state with the royal eunuchs in the palace, have adopted Bruhannada as their patron and are going to take out a silent procession at ten tomorrow morning and march around the city both as a mark of respect and as a way of highlighting their plight.
Usage notes[edit]

This term is sometimes considered offensive (derogatory) in Pakistan. Khawaja sara (from Urdu خواجه سرا (khawaja sara)) may be used instead,[1] but this term is rare in English.


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.”