Third gender is a concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor women. It also describes a social category present in those societies that recognize third gender. The term third is usually understood to mean “other”.
1 Million People identify themselves as HIJRA -Eunuchs(third gender) in India.
Far and beyond the world of education and global social justice, lies the unknown third gender that is better known as “HIJRAS” in India. Their presence in the Indian society is unavoidable. Unfortunately their present state of existence has been reduced to that of abject poverty, Illiteracy, hatred and mockery. It is very strange that where whole world is supporting and raising voice for the rights and equality for Gay and Homosexuals, the third gender are still living in the shadow of rejection from every basic and fundamental right, equality and education and in other sectors.
They have been reduced to the topic of discussion amongst researchers for their different appearance. People have forgotten that they are also human beings and they also have the right to be treated like ‘normal’ people. Treating or calling them as the ‘other sex ‘renders the entire process of gender equality futile. They also have equal right, priorities, equality, and the social identity like other peoples rightfully possess.
Causing hindrance to their development and equal status in society are the negative attitudes of people which are preconditioned by the biased society. The preconceived notions and stereotypes pose a major problem to the prospective reforms or schemes which are introduced for the eunuchs. Indian Government has only given the right to vote but also right to fight elections and get elected if in majority, still their generation are facing trials and tribulations at each step.
Eunuchs face health problems because most of them are not aware of the impending health issues which may arise due to malnutrition or other such causes. They not only suffer in dearth of finances and proper access to health facilities, but are also verbally abused and harassed by hospital staffs, and discriminated upon in hospital and other places.
This minority community has long been marginalised. They don’t have easy access to education, were mostly disowned by their families and culturally deprived. They live in ‘Ghettos’ and are often sexually and verbally harassed in schools.
They are considered as an object of lust and most of them have taken to prostitution to earn their livelihood. A majority of them have no jobs in organised sectors or industries, nor are they entertained in good educational institutions.
It’s a sad state of affairs as the government has not provided nor introduced any major systemic reforms for them. To build a democratic nation free from any biases, it is necessary to create a society free from gender discrimination. CSR can help the government establish employment centres for the eunuchs. Awareness campaigns, socio cultural conditioning, effective usage of media and CSR funded NGO’s can bring about a radical change in educating people towards the importance of gender equality.
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