A young man came up to us just as I was thanking Trisha and seeing her go until the end of the street where she resided. He was a tall man in his mid-to-late twenties with a rugged, manly appearance. Some instinct prompted me to take a step back to allow him and Trisha some space. In Tamil, the pair exchanged a few words. The man’s voice was sweet, friendly, and affectionate, in contrast to his rough appearance. Trisha could tell he was more than just a client or even a friend to her.
Trisha turned and said, “Ms. Yulia, this is my husband, Dilip,” as if suddenly realizing her rudeness in excluding me from the conversation. He courted me for a year before we agreed to marry at a temple in the area. This was, of course, only after my sex change operation….”
After more discussion and investigation, I discovered that, in keeping with their gender identity, transgender women were not uncommon to have a stable boyfriend, or in Trisha’s case, a marriage. In some parts of India, hijra spouses are referred to as giriyas, but in others, they are referred to as shridhar.
Unlike other modest Indian couples, the hijras and their spouses have no qualms about publicly expressing their love for one another. In public, they frequently hold hands, kiss, and mouth heartfelt “I love yous.”
Having a husband does not automatically imply breaking connections with the guru and the jamat. Despite being married, many hijras, including Trisha, continue to live with their gurus. Prostitution and having a husband are not mutually exclusive. Despite being married, many hijras, like Trisha, continue to augment their income through prostitution. The lack of acceptability by their in-laws is the main reason why hijras continue to live in the jamat despite being married. Trisha’s in-laws, for example, were opposed to her marriage to Dilip and refused to accept her as their daughter-in-law. She wasn’t a “real” woman in their view, thus she wasn’t deserving of acceptance. As a result, despite having a husband, Trisha continues to live her old life. On the other hand, Trisha and most other married hijras want to move into their husbands’ homes and begin playing the women’s traditional role as housekeepers, in keeping with Hinduism’s customs.
- previous article: Hijra Femininity
- next article: The Nirvan or Emasculation Ceremony: A Rite of Passage
I have been a story writer since 1998 and have published many novels/novellas in both English and Japanese. Protagonists of the following fictions are Hijras – including ordinary males who turn into Hijras over the course of the story: