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Equity for the Urban Transgender in India: Perspectives from Laxmi Narayan Tripathi’s Me Laxmi Me Hijra

Manjusha Kaushik

Abstract


There are very few writers and activists who work for the betterment of transgender.
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is such a writer and activist. In spite of her sufferings, she
has established herself as a successful activist. She comes forward not only for herself
but for the welfare of the transgender community. She is a leading LGBT rights advocate
and activist whose autobiographical work Me hijra me laxmi is a distinctive feature in
Indian writing in English literature. This work records the struggle of Laxmi as she
raises her voice against injustice done to hizras. “Transgender individuals in India
are commonly known as hijras. They are usually born males who assume neither male
nor female identity. Being a transgender focuses on gender identity and not on sexual
orientation. They are expected by the society only to perform rituals such as badhai.
Otherwise they became one of the most neglected communities throughout
India”(www. Hera- single p1).Today in India, many hijra (transgender) live in urban
ghettos and many are confined to undignified begging or many are forced into sex
trade for a living. A large number of transgender indulges in projecting themselves as
a good omen to bless the bride and the groom, or a newly born baby and demand
money in excess, if denied then prove vulgar. The author recounts her struggle to get
an Indian passport issued and other such struggles against institutionalised
discrimination. The role of the hijra is much discussed, accepted and visible in Indian
culture and mythology. But, modern Indian society has relegated them to an extremely
marginalised and miserable existence. The author questions the lack of equal
opportunities and the right to human dignity which a transgender faces in urban
India. They have been denied basic human rights, education, health care and
respectable job opportunities. We are living in the period of modernity which gives
opportunities to facilitate the social conditions in which subcultures emerge and
nourishing. The post modern theorist, Zygmunt Bauman, contends that, “compared
to the past, contemporary life is fluid people change jobs, religions, homes, nationalities,
husband/ wives, life style and political ideas.”( Haenfler 29).

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