Difference between Transgender and Hijra

Key Difference: Transgender is the state in which a person’s gender identity does not match with his/her physical sex. Hijra is a South Asian term used for males who have physiological feminine gender identity.

Transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual. It does not apply to any particular form of sexual orientation. As per Wikipedia, transgender means:

  • "Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these."
  • "People who were assigned a sex, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves."
  • "Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth.”

Hijras are the males who have feminine gender identity, according to the South Asian culture. They adopt feminine gender roles and appear in women's clothing. The hijra gender includes intersex people as well. As the Hijra is not classified under males or females, the Hijra community is lobbying for recognition for themselves as a 'third sex or gender'. Nirwaan is a religious act that is carried out by many Hijras at the initial stage. It consists of removal of the male reproductive organs.

The differences between transgender and hijra are shown in the table below:





A state where a person identifies oneself by gender orientation and not as a member of a community.

A male who has physiological feminine gender identity and wears women's clothing.


  • People who do not identify exclusively with either gender.
  • Cross-dressers.
  • Pre-operative, post-operative and non-operative transsexuals who generally feel they were born into the wrong physical body.
  • Others who feel they do not fit our society’s usual expectations of gender behavior or appearance.
  • Intersex persons.

Males; they do not have any particular sex orientation. In fact, they challenge the sexual orientations and consider themselves a new gender; ‘third gender’.

Applies to

Any sexual orientation; heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual; and both the genders.

Mostly males, but some may be intersexual.


As gender is so outwardly visible; transgender people who are transitioning may be vulnerable to discrimination, and will have a strong need for the support of family and friends.

They face discrimination in the society; however, they are respected for some religious beliefs and ceremonies.

Sexual Relations

There is no particular sexual or gender orientation, so they can have sexual relationships with any person of their desire. Generally, sexual relationships are carried out with the original gender of the person. Example, a transgender male gets transformed into a female by the way of surgery. Now, the person being a female will have sexual relations with a male.

As declared by them, Hijra is a new gender and surpasses any sex orientation. They have sexual relations amongst themselves and also with males. Many work as sex workers for survival.


Like the rest of the population, there is a range of sexual orientations within the transgender community; and conceiving depends on the sexual orientation of a couple that can be natural or medical.

It is not physically possible for a Hijra to conceive or give birth. They have been in existence from generations by adopting young boys who are rejected by, or have fled from their family.


Transformation of transgender people is legalized in many countries but still there are a number of countries that don’t allow transformation of genders.

There are no laws made for legalization of the Hijra community. However, there are constant efforts made by many Hijra activists for official recognition for themselves as a third gender.

Image Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org, en.wikipedia.org

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Hey, Would like to know more about the Differences between Transgender and Eunuch/Hijda looking forward.

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