Impact of Gender Binarism on Hijras’ Life Course and Their Access to Fundamental Human Rights in Pakistan

  • Citation: Alizai, Aurangzaib, Philippe Doneys, and Donna L. Doane. "Impact of gender binarism on Hijras’ life course and their access to fundamental human rights in Pakistan." Journal of homosexuality 64.9 (2017): 1214-1240.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • South Asia
    • fundamental human rights
    • access
    • gender binarism
    • hijras
    • life course
    • Pakistan

This study adds to the growing body of knowledge on gender nonconformity aspects of heteronormativity by examining its impact on the life course of hijras and their access to fundamental human rights in Pakistan. Drawing on 50 semistructured interviews conducted in two sites, the findings suggest that the participants’ lived experiences associated with gender nonconformity significantly influenced the direction of their life course and their ability to have access to human rights. These experiences spanned from childhood to elderhood across a wide range of settings, such as family, school, guru dera (residence headed by a hijra guru), workplace, and interactions with authorities. The participants’ human rights were not recognized, resulting in abuse, social stigma, discrimination against them, and their exclusion from mainstream society. Finally, implications are drawn for public policy and future research on third gender concerns in Pakistan and elsewhere.

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