Hijras a and colonising bodies: between morality and instincts


  • Giulia Ferro Ca' Foscari University, Italy




The present article seeks to analyse the crush between British in colonial India and hijras, a transgender/transexual community present in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times. The Criminal Tribes Act (1871) sanctioned the presence of hijras, in public space and thus had the aim to delete the entire community seen as ‘deviant’ and dangerous – even if the results were scarce. The aim of this article is to analyse in depth – through gender theories but also through the semiotic point of view of Fontanille – the reasons British legislated against hijras, which relate to the traditional heteronormativity, gender binarism and stereotypes, but also with the entire foundation of colonialism.

Keywords: transgender, hijras, colonial India, gender binary, masculinity.