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A Hidden Cemetery for Third Gender People in India

Hidden behind a green gate wedged within a row of bustling businesses is a spiritual sanctuary. There, rows of simple tombs protrude from the earth, weathered with age. They lie before an ornate, green-and-white checkered structure, lined up as queueing to pay their respects. A deep calm permeates the air around the tombs, adding a sense of grave serenity to the site.

The tombs are part of Hijron ka Khanqah, an Islamic monument in South Delhi, India. It’s a Sufi sanctuary for hijras (sometimes pluralized as hijron), a word historically used to describe eunuchs, which now more widely refers to an organized spiritual and social community that encompasses eunuchs, transgender, intersex, or third gender people in India. (Some prefer the term kinnar, used for hijras in north India.)

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