Reporter bullied by eunuchs in India

LA Times has a funny article about an American reporter's run-in with aggressive transvestite eunuchs who try to get him to fork over some money.

Something between male and female, they are shunned by Indian society as unclean. Many make a rough living through prostitution or by crashing weddings, birthday parties and other festive occasions, threatening to disrupt the celebrations with vulgar behavior and to bring bad luck unless they are paid off.

And now they were in my living room.

They should move to the United States. I'll bet a lot of people would pay them to behave in a vulgar manner as party entertainment.


Reader comment: Joseph says:

They're not eunuchs— they're called Hirjas, and they're considered a 'third gender' in India. You'll often find references to them in books about transgender/transexual issues. Besides providing entertainment at weddings and births (yes, typically in a pretty vulgar manner), they're considered somewhat sacred— their function in Indian society is to bless newborns and newly-married couples.

For more about hirjas and their cultural niche, see Serena Nanda's book: Neither Man Nor Woman.

And you'll find some pictures on flickr.

PS— the reason they're not eunuchs: some have had their genitals removed (via a ceremonial rite of passage), and some have not. In a way, comparable to the pre-op / post-op / non-op branches of transexuals (See: TransAmerica).