This past year, Black Americans debated the controversial US census forms that asked people to identify themselves as among the other races as Black, African-American or Negro. There are varying classifications of White as well..either Hispanic or Non-Hispanic (I’ve never understood that one personally) along with the normal labels and the dreaded category known as “other”. In the US, as far as the census goes, “other” followed by a blank line for you to break down your heritage in as detailed a percentage as possible. But in other countries..especially India, that designation will take on a while new meaning and potentially mean a step forward in classifying people as “gay”.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, this month, India is adding a third group to its decennial census…that of “other” to help categorize and label all the hijras a.k.a transgenders/eunuchs.
Hijras, who readily identify themselves as women born as men, who earn their money as women and who also represent the highest-risk group for HIV/AIDS see the
census classification as inclusion. Some feel it will open the door for gay rights and offer a social bridge for gay couples to be seen as real members of society… others feel it just puts a target on the community.
This will be an interesting one to watch as transgender men become increasingly integrated into approved social settings…i.e..
PC Air’s hiring of three transsexual men as flight attendants (to avoid sticky immigration situations..the Thai airline also adopts the “third sex” label). Even Pakistan issues a national identification card to eunuchs.
MadMen..what do you think?