The Hijra Village of Bangladesh: AJ_PHOTOESSAY_02

SHERPUR, BANGLADESH - SEPTEMBER 21: Nishi has her hair done before going to sign land titles at a government office on September 21, 2021 in Sherpur, Bangladesh. Nishi is president of the Sherpur Hijra Welfare Association. Her role is keeping them organized, united and managing employment for the members so they don’t have to beg door to door. In 8th grade she realized that she was not a boy. One day she found a Hijra group and joined them when she was 15 years old. Before moving to this village life was hard for her and her group. Landlords were constantly giving them trouble. “Now this place is my own. My own house and my own land. Here, freedom is absolute.” She says. She got a grant from the government to buy livestock. “In society we are not allowed to eat in any restaurant and people won't let us go near any mosque. People verbally abuse us. In this place i is not happening. No one here shows us any abger or abuses us. My goal is to make everyone self reliant and help everyone to get jobs or run a business. We need more help, but I feel confident that this is possible.” Nishi says. In South Asia, “hijras” are identified as a category of people who are assigned as male at birth but develop a feminine gender identity. They are generally outcasted from mainstream society, and have no other way of earning money other than harassing and extorting people for money. A new government initiative aims to change that. Recently, 40 Hijra were given homes, grants, loans, livestock, and livelihood training in an effort to make them self sufficient. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

SHERPUR, BANGLADESH - SEPTEMBER 21: Nishi has her hair done before going to sign land titles at a government office on September 21, 2021 in Sherpur, Bangladesh. Nishi is president of the Sherpur Hijra Welfare Association. Her role is keeping them organized, united and managing employment for the members so they don’t have to beg door to door. In 8th grade she realized that she was not a boy. One day she found a Hijra group and joined them when she was 15 years old. Before moving to this village life was hard for her and her group. Landlords were constantly giving them trouble. “Now this place is my own. My own house and my own land. Here, freedom is absolute.” She says. She got a grant from the government to buy livestock. “In society we are not allowed to eat in any restaurant and people won't let us go near any mosque. People verbally abuse us. In this place i is not happening. No one here shows us any abger or abuses us. My goal is to make everyone self reliant and help everyone to get jobs or run a business. We need more help, but I feel confident that this is possible.” Nishi says. In South Asia, “hijras” are identified as a category of people who are assigned as male at birth but develop a feminine gender identity. They are generally outcasted from mainstream society, and have no other way of earning money other than harassing and extorting people for money. A new government initiative aims to change that. Recently, 40 Hijra were given homes, grants, loans, livestock, and livelihood training in an effort to make them self sufficient. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)