The Hijra community and the complex path to decolonising gender in Bangladesh

A really helpful article making some important distinctions about Hijra and Trans.

The Queerness

The need to understand gender as a spectrum must include non-Western identities and a move towards decolonising queerness. Ibtisam Ahmed explores the history of the Hijra community in Bangladesh.


Ways of exploring and experiencing queerness are extremely diverse, and this is being accepted by a growing number of people in recent years. It is an encouraging development but it still carries its pitfalls. One of the biggest challenges that is still being faced is a false equivalence of conceptualising all types of genders and sexualities through a strictly Western lens. In particular, there is often a misconception in cisgender activist circles of misunderstanding non-Western third gender identities.

In Bangladesh, the third gender identity is known as Hijra. The community is an indelible part of not only queer culture but of the national social fabric. Centuries before Bangladesh was even conceived as a modern nation state, and even before the…

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