The Secret World of South India’s Transgender Women

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Image: Sahar Fadaian

“I sympathized with them just like any other person I ever photographed and wrote stories about,” Fadaian continues. “I felt I have what it takes to walk into the privacy of their lives just to hear what they have gone through and how they get by, and what their hopes and dreams and fears are.”

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Image: Sahar Fadaian

However, getting access to the private lives of hijras is not a simple matter, especially for someone who doesn’t speak the local dialect. For this reason, Fadaian enlisted the services of a dependable auto-rickshaw driver to arrange meetings with hijra women and interpret their conversations. And even then, communicating with the hijras proved challenging, as the driver’s English was itself rather tricky to comprehend. Fadaian resolved to record several of her encounters and later show them to a bilingual acquaintance to make sure that she hadn’t misunderstood anything.

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