Annalisa Natali Murri
There was a time when “Hijras” were revered as demigod. Hijras communities in Bangladesh, namely transgender people, have been believed for thousands years to bring people fertility and good luck. But times have changed, and their lives have become extremely harder. Being “Hijra” now leaves many without an official identity: as he doesn’t exist officially, whoever is born Hijra can't inherit property and should be expelled from the community by birth. Access to education and employment, as well as having a passport, a bank account or a driving licence is strictly precluded them. Moreover, Bangladesh seems to be no more concerned about the 35000 and more Hijras living there, and its interest in their condition has declined: a lack of assistance and alternative work opportunities has forced many of them into sex work and prostitution. Hijras are permanently marked by their sexual diversity. If the society recognised them and the government gave them job opportunities, as already happens in India and Pakistan, less money could be spent on HIV-awareness campaigns and health programmes. “Probably we would not need to prostitute ourselves anymore”- said one of them- “and our lives would be better. But this night, as always, we'll just make and dress up...and take to the streets”.
Hijra Monika on the doorstep of her house, about to take to the streets.