Within this trend, surprisingly there still exists the third gender called “Hijra” within the Indian cultural sphere that is distinctly different from the conceptual underpinnings of what is perceived as a trans-gender in the West. The Western and the Japanese society possess a dualistic perspective on gender, which is either male or female. As Shiva, the Supreme Lord, is occasionally described as a hermaphrodite, gender differentiation within the Indian society, largely comprised of Hindus, is also very peculiar in its kind, seen in the existence of a middle gender that combines both characteristics of a man and a woman. Hijras can be called the trans-genders of India. Nevertheless, a Hijras will never claim to be a trans-gender, and this underlines the fundamental difference between how a trans-gendered identity is defined in the West. Just as men and women play their roles in society, Hijras, who are neither men nor women, belong to a special category of gender, and fulfill a socio-cultural role that is only reserved for them.
The most well known role for a Hijra is to bestow in God’s name, “the power to procreate as well as create new life for newly-born male babies and for newly-wed couples.” In addition, they provide entertainment through their performance act to those who have gathered around for the occasion. Also, the Hijras societies are interconnected throughout the country and each community is comprised along territorial lines.
Whether it be India or not, for a millennia, gender has formed the basis of human identity. Knowing the varied cultures of Hijras serves as an indicator for universal topics such as our gender and sexuality.