• India's 'Third Gender'

    The term "hijra" applies to a very diverse group of people in India who identify as neither male nor female. These third-gendered people can range from a natural hermaphrodite to a male cross-dresser in a sari. The subjects here, who fall within this spectrum, are eunuchs. There are an estimated 5 to 6 million hijras in India. Less than 10 percent are eunuchs.
  • India's 'Third Gender'

    Dating back as far as the Kama Sutra by some estimations, hijras were both revered and feared as powerful entities who lived between the sexes.
  • India's 'Third Gender'

    They were believed to bestow good fortune and fertility through dances performed at births and weddings.
  • India's 'Third Gender'

    Over the course of history, their status and usefulness in society survived centuries of historical evolution.
  • India's 'Third Gender'

    Within the last 150 years, as western prejudices have encroached upon Indian codes of sexual morality, the hijras have fallen precipitously from grace
  • India's 'Third Gender'

    Today, hijras live on the margins of society. They face severe harassment at the hands of the state and the wider population. Police brutality and sexual assault are common.
  • India's 'Third Gender'

    Because of this lifestyle, their reputation as second-class citizens is further stitched into the fabric of society, and they find it impossible to escape the social stigmas.
  • India's 'Third Gender'

    Photographer Jill Peters chose to photograph these subjects on the beach near the Malwani slum in Mumbai, India.
  • India's 'Third Gender'

    "My intention was simply to portray them as the subjects of beauty and grace they so desperately strive to be, as if their path to nirvana had not been impeded by a century and a half of prejudice," said Peters. <a href="http://abcn.ws/MjRpo2?id=16757517" target="external">Click to see how new film exposes transgender life in South Asia </a>
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