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Video Page: Being Laxmi: ‘I belong to the hijra, the oldest transgender community’

It's a still from the video, Laxmi, is smiling and wearing a pink bindi and saree, a silver nose pin. They have long hair, open in the photo and is wearing sindoor on their forehead.

Community – your friends, family, neighbours – can be a source of great strength and support. However, in exchange for this support, members of a community are subject to unwritten rules and codes of conduct. Just as community members look out for each other, they are also constantly scrutinizing others’ behaviour. This scrutiny is particularly harsh when it comes to expressions of gender and sexuality. Often, any expression that strays from what is deemed ‘normal’ leads to condemnation and ostracism from the very same community that was once nurturing and helpful.

In South Asia, this narrative of condemnation and ostracism is all too familiar for hijras, the third gender. Often abandoned by their friends and families, hijras across South Asia have created their own communities to uplift each other. In this video Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a prominent activist for the rights of hijra people, talks about her work and the communities she inhabits.

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