On the day the Rajya Sabha passed the controversial Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 which has been under severe criticism from trans activists, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra sparked another furore. During a live TV debate on Maharashtra politics, he said “I am not Sonia Gandhi’s hijra’ in a derogatory slur towards the transgender community.
His comments sparked an outrage on social media with many calling it transphobic.
Hijra refers to eunuchs, intersex and transgender people in the Indian subcontinent. They are also known as Aravani, Aruvani, Jagappa or Kinnar. However, the word has been used as a slur to describe someone who is weak, effeminate or impotent. In Indian politics, there have been many instances where leaders have used the word hijra as an abuse. InUth spoke to Rudrani Chettri, trans activist to know why it is problematic.