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In translation/transition : what happens when hijra and/or khawaja sara meets transgender? Khan, Mohammad Zakriya 2019

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IN TRANSLATION/TRANSITION: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HIJRA AND/ORKHAWAJA SARA MEETS TRANSGENDER?byMohammad Zakriya KhanB.S. Case Western Reserve University, 2015A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES(Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice)THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA(Vancouver)April 2019© Mohammad Zakriya Khan, 2019iiThe following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, a thesis/dissertation entitled:In Translation/Transition: What Happens When Hijra and/or Khawaja Sara Meets Transgender?                                                                                                                                      submitted by Mohammad Zakriya Khan in partial fulfillment of the requirements forthe degree of Master of Artsin Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social JusticeExamining Committee:Dina Al-KassimSupervisor John Paul CatungalSupervisory Committee Member Supervisory Committee MemberAdditional Examiner Additional Supervisory Committee Members:Supervisory Committee MemberSupervisory Committee MemberiiiAbstractSouth Asia is  currently seeing a rise in the usage and deployment of the term andconcept of transgender to describe hijra and khawaja sara communities in India, Pakistan, andBangladesh. This situation leads to numerous points of inquiry and discussion that allow forexplorations of local-transnational knowledge flows, dissemination of terms and concepts fromone are to another and vice versa, the relationship between the local and the global, and the be-nefits and problems of using transgender to describe various other gender groups in the world.This thesis examines both the benefits and drawbacks of using transgender in South Asia as aterm to describe hijra and khawaja sara. It also looks at contemporary events and configura-tions of meaning making in the context of colonialism, imperialism, and post-colonialism. Itexamines historical documents, news articles, scholarly works, and popular media. It also askswhether any one term or concept can adequately address the situation at hand. This thesisfinds that while transgender does work to some extant, it also exposes many gaps and fissuresthat serve as useful entry points to examine the situation in a more nuanced fashion. By look-ing at race, sexuality, sex, and gender as entangled within one another, rather than as entirelyseparable constructs, this thesis finds that while no one term or concept is a direct translation,a better question is instead to ask what can be done to adequately address (trans) gender con-figurations in an increasingly global  context.  It  finishes  with inquiries  into  the concept  oftranslation itself, and finds that translation per se is not what is best to theorize around, butrather metaphors of knowledge that allow for the entangled realities this thesis describes to betaken into account are a more effective approach. This thesis then proposes a series of lin-guistic metaphors to serve as a tool and starting point to allow for further inquiries to enablediscussions of local and global transgender studies beyond merely translation.ivLay SummaryThe key goals of this thesis were to explore whether transgender serves as an effectivetranslation for hijra and khawaja sara, to look at how the term is used and deployed in SouthAsia, and to propose other ways of thinking around these concepts. It finds that while no term,including transgender, is perfect, the larger question to address is how to attend to both thelocal and global forces that shape the situation and will continue to shape it in the future. Thisthesis then proposes a series of metaphors based on concepts from linguistics to serve as a botha tool to do this and as starting points for deeper research that goes beyond translation and in-stead focuses on the work that can be done if careful attention is given to the nuanced, en -tangled realities of gender.vPrefaceThis  thesis  is  an  original,  independent  intellectual  work  of  the  author,  MohammadZakriya Khan. It relies on the ethnographic, scholarly, and journalistic works of the authorscited in its bibliography.viTable of ContentsAbstract................................................................................................................................................................iiiLay Summary......................................................................................................................................................ivPreface...................................................................................................................................................................vTable of Contents...............................................................................................................................................viAcknowledgements..........................................................................................................................................viiDedication.........................................................................................................................................................viii1. Introduction.....................................................................................................................................................12. Hijra/Khawaja Sara/Eunuch/Thiird Gender/Transgender: A Brief Historical Overview of Terms and Translations.....................................................................................................................................32.1 “Eunuch” and Its (Dis)Contents..........................................................................................................42.2 Many-Coined Terms...............................................................................................................................62.3 How Many Ways Can We Divide By Thiree?.................................................................................102.4 An Ever-Unfolding Umbrella: Thie Rise of Transgender.............................................................133. “I Know What I Am” Because of What We All Are: Conceptions of (Trans) Gender Selfhooods Beyond Identity.................................................................................................................................................193.1 Communal Selves..................................................................................................................................213.2 Race, Respectability, Gender, and the NGO...................................................................................253.3 Sexuality, Respectability, Gender, and the NGO...........................................................................434. On Translation...............................................................................................................................................574.1 Comparing, Contrasting, Asking......................................................................................................574.2 Thiis Thiesis is Disappearing as it is Being Writteen.......................................................................645. Conclusion......................................................................................................................................................706. Epilogue: Dialogues and Diasporas.........................................................................................................726.1 India Afteer Section 377’s Repeal.......................................................................................................726.2 Gender Pidgins, Gender Creoles.......................................................................................................74Bibliography.......................................................................................................................................................81viiAcknowledgementsI wish to thank my thesis committee members, Dr. Dina Al-Kassim and Dr. JP Catungal,for their patience, comments, and attentive oversight. The faculty, staff, and students of UBC’sGRSJ program for their helpful discussions in and out of class deserve mention. Thank you tomy mother, Dr. Asima Khan, for her comments and her insights into South Asia, in particularon Islam in Pakistan. I would like to thank my father, Dr. Kazim Khan, for his support through-out the process of writing this thesis. To my brother, Omar Khan, I would like to thank for hismany conversations to help with personal and professional advice. I would also like to thank the hijra and khawaja sara themselves who, despite the brutaldaily realities they live within, continue to make a space for themselves and continue to buildlifeworlds worth living in. I would also like to thank the fellow queer and trans people withwhom I had many conversations about the terms and concepts in this thesis. Some of them be-longed to groups such as VAN-PAH and VML and I thank them for the much-needed distrac-tions those groups provided. I would also like to acknowledge the many bus drivers, restaurantworkers, janitors, and many more people who contributed every day to this thesis’s creationand to whom I owe a great deal of thanks for feeding, transporting, and cleaning while I wasburied deep in books.This thesis was conceived of and written on the traditional, ancestral, unceded, and oc-cupied territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Watuth), Stó:lō, Shíshálh(Sechelt) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples. The legacies ofthe colonial violence this thesis examines continue to affect these groups today, and the authoracknowledges this ongoing, brutal colonial violence and that the struggle for gender and sexualliberation goes hand-in-hand with the liberation of colonized peoples.viiiDedicationTo my parents for their undying support.11. IntroductionIn 2018, two critical events in South Asia occurred within months of each other. InMarch, Pakistan’s parliament passed The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act,1 and inSeptember, ruling in the case of Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India,2 India’s supremecourt struck down the portions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to sodomy.These two events indicate profound and vital shifts in the construction and dissemination ofqueer and trans logics within South Asia. This thesis aims to examine one subset of this largerdialogue, the interaction between Western understandings of “transgender” and South Asianunderstandings of hijra and khawaja sara. As NGOs rise and spread across the region and aslaws and court rulings are passed, this interaction can help us understand the benefits, draw-backs,  and  implications  of  translating hijra  and khawaja  sara  into transgender,  as  well  asprovide critical insights into the nature of the spread of knowledge and the thinking we asscholars and queer and trans theorists engage in. In short, it asks: how can we develop globaltrans studies while attending to the local, indigenous ways of knowing gender in South Asia?What do we gain and lose in the process of translation? How has the category of transgendercome to be, and what baggage does it carry when it arrives in South Asia? Are (trans) genderedpeople able to speak to other (trans) gendered people without also having to consider race,place, identity, class, caste, and strategy? That is, in essence, what happens when a hijra and atrans person meet? Because so much of the literature around hijra and South Asian studies fo-cuses on India, this thesis shall focus on Pakistan. This is not only to help limit the length andscope of its inquiries, but to begin “de-Indianizing Hijra,” in an effort to shift scholarship to fo-cus on both supra-localities and hyper-localities in South Asia.31 Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018.2 Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India thr. Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice.3 Hossain, “De-Indianizing Hijra Intraregional Effacements and Inequalities in South Asian Queer Space.”2As this thesis attempts to explore and disassemble the very terms it employs, providinginitial working definitions of terms is necessary but also ultimately self-defeating. Neverthe-less, this thesis takes both hijra and khawaja sara to mean people found throughout SouthAsia, including Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, who were assigned male at birth who thencome to know themselves through both self identification and community recognition as a dis -tinct gender and sex category, who are associated primarily with aspects of femininity as wellas with some masculinity. Those assigned female at birth are beyond the scope of this thesis. 4We will break down the nuances of hijra versus khawaja sara, as well as sex versus genderversus sexuality, and the hyper-local terms that also engage in dialogue with these hyper-re-gional terms later in this thesis. As is already evident, these terms are only set off in italicsonce, unless they appear so in quotes, as they are not expected to be continually “alien” or “for-eign” in the eyes of the reader. Rather, as part of the point of this thesis is to examine and oftenflip the optics of Western queer and trans theory, this thesis takes these terms to be just as nat-ural to the reader as transgender already is, and then disassembles them all only to reassemblesomething else later. This reassembly will not, I regret to say, likely be satisfactory but it willhopefully provide us space to do more than just ask questions, but also explore the many var-ied responses, though indeed not answers, those questions elicit.5 This thesis will also examinethe historical  impacts  of  colonialism,  religion,  and region on the becoming of  these termsthemselves. But, for now, they provide a starting line, however uncertain that starting line is.4 Assigned female at birth people experience a wide range of (trans) gendering experiences in South Asia thatare beyond the scope of this thesis.5 I owe some inspiration for this approach to my civil engineering undergraduate degree, in which we learnedmuch about structures by examining how they failed. Whether the failure was from being overloaded, theravages of time, shoddy construction materials, etc.32. Hijra/Khawaja Sara/Eunuch/Third Gender/Transgender: A BriefHistorical Overview of Terms and TranslationsTwo of South Asia’s major religions, Hinduism and Islam, both contain references topeople both outside of binary conceptions of gender as we know them today, but also as partsof entire unique systems of knowing gender that are quite unlike even male/female/non-bin-ary/trans etc. as defined in modern discourse. Queer theory has already tackled the issues ofreading sexualities in the past, with varying results. For example, in “Capitalism and Gay Iden-tity,” D’Emilio presents a reading of modern understandings of “gay” as a discrete identity cat-egory to be dependent on developments found within Europe and America in the IndustrialEra.6 Furthermore, Foucault also locates key shifts in mid-to-late-Victorian Europe as criticalfor understanding “homosexuality” as an identity, rather than as a set of actions, that could be“confessed” or admitted to, and therefore also brought into the discourses of the state.7 Indeed,there have been volumes published exactly on the question of translation and contact betweenterms, times, and contexts of sexuality, notably including  Islamicate Sexualities: Translationsacross Temporal Geographies of Desire.8 Here, I am discussing sexuality in a thesis about gender,which may seem to violate a key tenet of modern understandings of the concepts: that they areultimately unrelated and separate concepts. I am violating that very tenet, and I argue, withvery good reason, which will emerge throughout this text, but for now it is because the easyseparation between sexuality and gender cannot and does not serve to do us any favours indiscussing hijra and khawaja sara. This split will occur as a key theme throughout this thesistime and again, particularly because the very notion of a split, as will be seen, enabled  bothsexuality and gender activists an opportunity to make claims and stake identities. This process6 D’Emilio, “Capitalism and Gay Identity.”7 Foucault, History of Sexuality Vol. 1.8 Epps et al., Islamicate Sexualities.4also created much fallout, with the ragged pieces left behind becoming double-edged swords,of sorts.2.1 “Eunuch” and Its (Dis)ContentsWith some groundwork laid out, let us turn to South Asia. Texts as old as the KamaSutra mention people understood as  something other than man or woman.9 However it  isalready here that we run up against the problems of translation, time, place, and context. Spe-cifically, the translation cited here by Burton continually employs the term “eunuch.” Burtonproduced his translation during the British colonial era in India. Colonial authorities were con-cerned just as much with classifying, typifying, and regulating natives as they were with col-lecting and disseminating local knowledge, and indeed the two causes went hand-in-hand. TheKama Sutra is considered to be a somewhat scandalous book about sex, and while it certainly isa book about sex, it is also a book about palace management, relationship dynamics, and critic -ally, gender. That these are all folded together into one volume speaks to the connections madebetween these concepts and their very formation themselves in ancient India. That is, in thetraditional imaginaries of South Asia, these concepts are taken as co-constituted, not separable.Thus, we must consider both the time and place of how these colonial translations came to be,and we must also consider the relationships between terms and concepts in the text itself. “Eunuch” as a catchall for any expression of sexuality/gender that the British colonizerscould not or indeed would not file has a long history. Chatterjee states that,The British classified the hijra based on three categorizations: first, as naturally im-potent men; second, as males born with congenital malformation; and third, as arti-ficial eunuchs. The way in which the British concerned themselves with the hijrabody is noteworthy because it signified “not only the binary sex/gender frame ofreference within which colonial officials were operating, but also the naturalization9 Mallanāga, The Kama Sutra.5of sexual difference and the centrality of the ‘deficient’ body in such constructionsof identity” (Reddy 2006: 28). The map of sexuality as drawn and redrawn in rela-tion to such frameworks has already been documented for the West (Foucault 1978),and it is possible to read the resignification of hijras in this light as a symptom ofcolonialism.10Now let us turn to the following passage from Burton’s translation of the Kama Sutra: “Thereare two kinds of eunuchs, those that are disguised as males, and those that are disguised as fe-males.”11 I  do not  know enough Sanskrit  to judge the accurateness  of  this translation,  andthough that is not my main point, I do direct readers to understand that it is indeed an awfultranslation, as it elides many differences and nuances in order to arrive at “eunuch” as a gen-eric descriptor.12 For example, it folds together what are in fact various experiences into twotypes, and it misunderstands much of the nuances of the Sanskrit it purports to translate, asReddy notes. Rather, my point is that Burton’s use of “eunuch” here, however (in)accurate itmay be, cannot escape the colonial logic Chatterjee outlined above, as evidenced by his transla-tion’s elisions and deletions. That is, we cannot even read the archive itself without dragging inthe past and present in our attempt to explain the future of global trans theorizing. And, I ar-gue, we should not shy away from this fact. Rather, we must acknowledge the profound effectsit has on our readings. To continue that thought, Dutta writes that “... the ethnological literat-ure was contradictory in its terminological classification, unable to fix a true eunuch body orcoherent ‘authentic’ category such as hijra.”13 Indeed, Dutta traces colonial authorities' inabilityto nail down who even was a hijra as also part and parcel of the colonial project within India,as the courts and rules they mingled in and the webs of power they were woven into were10 Chatterjee, “Transgender Shifts: Notes on Resignification of Gender and Sexuality in India,” 316.11 Mallanāga,  The Kama Sutra, 53. The particular edition of the translation that I am using only contains PDFpage numbers, and these citations refer to those. Burton’s translation lives on in many popular press citationstoday. For example, at the time of my writing, the Wikipedia article on hijra cites it.12 Reddy, With Respect to Sex, 21.13 Dutta, “An Epistemology of Collusion,” 829.6forever altered by the colonial situation. Whatever their “natural” progression could have beensaid to be, it was foreclosed time and again, not only through physical violence, but also in theviolence of categorizing, naming, and grouping; of exonyms and of endonyms becoming ex-onyms.14 On that last point, we must turn to the very term hijra itself.2.2 Many-Coined TermsBut to get there, a brief detour into Islam is necessary. Islamic texts contain referencesto people known as mukhannathun, though crucially the Quran itself does not. Discussion ofthe mukhannathun is beyond the scope of this thesis, but I bring it up to connect us to the nextargument: hijra is a Hindi-Urdu term.15 These languages, really standardized registers of onelanguage, and a classic example of a digraphia, or a situation in which one language has twoscripts, owe their existence to the many empires, rulers, languages, and peoples that call or didcall South Asia home, including the heavily Persianized but originally Turkic Mughal Empire,Arabic through both Islam and Persian loanwords, and many local Indo-Iranian languages. Itfunctions as the lingua franca, along with English, for much of the Northern portion of India,and practically all of Pakistan. Hijra’s root, originally from Arabic, comes from a term meaning“to break with,” “to emigrate,” “to leave,” or “to forsake,” which as will be seen in this thesis isan aspect of both the limitations and benefits of translating it as “transgender.”16 Arabic and Is-lam are tied together—much like Latin and Catholicism are in the West—in the imaginaries ofSouth Asia. Islam and Arabic experience a relationship that informs each other. We will exam-ine later the many conscious and subconscious connections to Islam to be found among hijra,khawaja sara, and the communities that view and interact with them. For now, what is relevant14 Ibid., 828–30.15 Reddy, With Respect to Sex, 243.16 Zanned, “Root Formation and Polysemic Organization in Arabic Lexicon,” 97.7is that the term itself is already an umbrella term, made that way through a double-filtering.One, that of the Hindi-Urdu lingua franca, and two, through the colonial apparatus, which, asseen earlier, attempted not only to define its borders but also promulgate its use even beyondits northern Indian context.With that in mind, we can also finally return to the term khawaja sara. It too comesfrom Hindi-Urdu,  specifically  the Persian khawaja meaning “master”  or  “teacher”  and also“person of distinction”17 and sara meaning “royal tent or dwelling” and also “a traveller's rest-ing place”18 (compare sarai as in caravansarai).  It is employed mainly in Pakistan. Khan writesthat, While the khwaja [sic] saras and zenanas (a category of khwaja sara folk) largelydressed as males and lived and were addressed as men, some of whom had import-ant positions in the courtly culture of per-colonial India, other groups of trans* in-dividuals, hijras or jhankas as they were called in some places, dressed as femalesand lived in communities under the direction of a guru. Members of these groupsdid not enjoy the same prestige and power that some khwaja saras did.19With regard to the second point, that of holding important positions, take also Dutta, whowrites that,As noted by Lawrence Preston, British observations of groups they called ‘eunuchs’began roughly in the late eighteenth century, and are scattered within the corres-pondence from contingents of the British East India Company in the early phase ofmercantile  colonialism.[31  Preston,  1987,  371-87]20 Most  accounts  describe  ‘eu-nuchs’ as malformed and repulsive.[32 Forbes, 1834, 359-60; Warden, 1827, 67-8]Preston  chronicles  British  interactions  with  the  community  known as  hijra  (orhijda) in western India as one of the first colonial encounters with ‘eunuchs’. Thehijras of western India enjoyed hereditary rights such as revenue shares under theindigenous Maratha regime. As the British gradually took over Maratha territories17 Steingass, “هجاوخ.”18 Platts, “ارس.”19 Khan, “What Is in a Name?,” 223.20 Where relevant, citations and footnotes found in quotes and block quotes that also use Chicago-style will bequoted at-length in brackets beside the original citation number, to prevent confusion with citations found inthese sources and my own citations found at the bottom of the page and in the bibliography.8from 1817 onward, these rights were curtailed, and this community was increas-ingly forced into the expanding urban underworld of low caste workers, prostitutesand beggars.[33 Preston, 1987, 385-7] ‘Eunuchs’ were subsequently criminalised un-der the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, a law that was revoked in 1952 after independ-ence.[34 Reddy, 2005, 27] In the original act, ‘eunuch’ could refer both to any per -son ‘dressed any person [sic] dressed or ornamented like a woman’ and anyonewho  upon  medical  inspection  ‘appeared  to  be  impotent’,  encompassing  bothgendered performance and physiology.[35 Reddy, 2005, 26]21These two passages provide us with deep insights into terminology and context, and we willreturn to them again later. In Hinchy’s research, “khawajasarai” was also found to be associ-ated with otherwise masculine identified people, much like Khan also notes,22 a stark contrastto its usage today.23 Again, Hinchy finds that the term connoted upper caste and class configur-ations.24 This shifting, from masculinity to femininity, accompanied by a slight shift in pronun-ciation (khawajasarai to khawaja sara) clarifies this point: hijra is seen largely as an impoliteterm, even a slur, in Pakistan,25 and we have here a genealogy of some reasons why. It not onlyconnotes lower class and caste standing historically, but positions them in modern Pakistan asdecidedly related to opulent, Muslim and Mughal traditions. Hijra, then, retains a hint of “In-dian-ness” that would be hard to work with in Pakistan. There is already a refiguring underwayto shift the term to connote trans femininity, and then another to relay this to higher caste andclass positions of the past. This is doubly important because, as Khan notes, even in Pakistan,khawaja sara still derive much of their influence due to their proximity to a Hindu goddess. 26So, we can see here another problem, and yet another opportunity, for translation and dialoguebetween these terms. That is, terms travel along with whatever baggage coined them and al-21 Dutta, “An Epistemology of Collusion,” 828.22 Khan, “What Is in a Name?,” 225–27.23 Hinchy, “Obscenity, Moral Contagion and Masculinity,” 278.24 Ibid., 277–78.25 Khan, “What Is in a Name?”; Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan.”26 Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan,” 1290.9lowed them to flourish. It is why khawaja sara in Pakistan use that term, why Reddy 27 findsthose she labels hijra have other local terms in southern India, while Dutta finds them yetagain in eastern India.28 This point will become vital to other arguments I shall make later inthis thesis as well. Furthermore, notions of criminalization appear in the colonial record and le-galese specifically around these terms (“eunuch,” by extension hijra and khawaja sara) and thiswill become critical later in the analysis of governmental respectability as related to alternateterms, and translations, such as transgender. I note that point because “khawajasarai” as a termand concept made colonial authorities slightly less anxious than “hijra,” because “hijras pro-voked deeper colonial anxieties and more wide-reaching interventions than did khwajasarais,who were not, in the colonial view, ‘habitual criminals’ and sexual ‘deviants.’”29 Colonial au-thorities would mine up “evidence” of the supposed criminal nature of hijra versus khawajasara, as we shall see. Furthermore, this thread continues to this day when hijra and khawajasara deal with formerly colonial government institutions in South Asia, as part of the appeal ofkhawaja sara as a term and concept, and then also of transgender, is that thread of govern-mental respectability.Reddy, Chatterjee, and Dutta all note this slipperiness between various terms used torefer to many gender variant populations in South Asia.30 Dutta examines the promulgation ofkothi (a term I expand upon later in this thesis), and Reddy operates in southern India, whereHindi-Urdu does not experience the wide deployment it does in the north. Chatterjee examinesboth kothi and eunuch as well as hijra. All of these authors together lead us to this point: hijra27 Reddy, With Respect to Sex.28 Dutta, “An Epistemology of Collusion.”29 Hinchy, “Obscenity, Moral Contagion and Masculinity,” 278.30 Chatterjee, “Transgender Shifts: Notes on Resignification of Gender and Sexuality in India”; Dutta, “An Epi-stemology of Collusion”; Reddy, With Respect to Sex.10and khawaja sara are umbrella terms, with all the stoppages, gaps, and fissures any umbrellaterm entails. Attempting to map one umbrella term onto another umbrella term is almost guar-anteed not to work, but that does not mean that we should not try, or that there is no value inexamining when and how it does and does not work. If it seems we have come far only to endup where we started, then take note that this will happen again in this thesis. But, I hope, whatis clear is that a set of historical relationships and power dynamics informs even the “naturalseeming” categories of hijra and khawaja sara themselves.2.3 How Many Ways Can We Divide By Three?Throughout that long history, new terms did begin to crop up in Western discourse torefer to these disparate and at times diasporic populations. Of particular note is the surge inpopularity of “third gender” and “third sex.” On the surface this positioning makes sense. Ifhijra and khawaja sara are neither men nor women or something else other than man or wo-man, then why not three? Later on we shall some passages from hijra and khawaja sara them-selves that may at first blush echo it, and thus, argue the proponents of three, its applicabilityis assured. An early critique of third gender can be found in “Romancing the Transgender Nat-ive: Rethinking the Use of the ‘Third Gender’ Concept” by Towle and Morgan. They note thatmany disparate groups found across various traditions, times, and places are often lumped to-gether under the label “third gender,” without regard for context, history, applicability, or indi-genous ways of knowing.31 Of particular note, however, is the following claim, “[i]f a commoncomplaint among trans individuals is that their lives and identities are violated and misrepres-ented for the goals of scholarship, then it behooves us to make sure that we do not commit the31 Towle and Morgan, “Romancing the Transgender Native.”11same offense against others for the goal of political advancement.”32 Much like Towle and Mor-gan, this thesis argues that too easy or too simple a translation or explanation runs this riskwhen producing and disseminating scholarship about hijra and khawaja sara. That is, I am “...skeptical of the utility of the generic transgender native in the popular literature.”33Are hijra and khawaja sara a third gender? Many modern day headlines (written longafter the 2002 publishing of Towle and Morgan’s paper) claim this to be true, and at Towle andMorgan’s time they were often presented as the archetypal case.34 Here is just a small samplingof these articles both scholarly and popular:• “Social stigma, legal and public health barriers faced by the third gender phenomena inBrazil, India and Mexico: Travestis, hijras and muxes”35 (note the lumping that Towleand Morgan specifically critiqued back in 2002).• “Pakistan's traditional third gender isn't happy with the trans movement”36• “Why terms like ‘transgender’ don’t work for India’s ‘third-gender’ communities.”37That is not to say that these articles have no use or are all-together wrong, but rather that evenin their breakdowns they provide us with useful insights; indeed, this thesis will later use someof them again for its own purposes. Shortly, we shall see just how “third gender” breaks downeven in its attempts at being encompassing, and later how transgender does the same, but wewill use these as key critical moments and tools. For now, as this sections serves more as a his-tory of terms, suffice it to say that third gender, too, much like eunuch or hijra or khawaja sara,also ultimately fails us.32 Ibid., 470.33 Ibid., 471.34 Ibid., 469.35 Diehl et al., “Social Stigma, Legal and Public Health Barriers Faced by the Third Gender Phenomena in Brazil,India and Mexico.”36 Azhar, “Pakistan’s Traditional Third Gender Isn’t Happy with the Trans Movement.”37 Bearak, “Why Terms like ‘Transgender’ Don’t Work for India’s ‘Third-Gender’ Communities.”12But how does it break down? In “The paradox of recognition: hijra, third gender andsexual rights in Bangladesh,” Adnan Hossain finds that,The third gender as a model is driven more by a desire to challenge the two sex/gender system and less by the lived lives of the people who constitute this ‘third’(Hossain 2014). Furthermore, the idea that societies that accommodate third gendercategories are more tolerant than the rest works to obfuscate the everyday struggleof  the hijra  who constantly  fight  against  the mainstream to demand a positionwithin those societies (Hall 1997). Moreover, the automatic relationship betweenthe recognition of the hijra as a third gender and empowerment ... does not redresstheir marginalisation.38As Hossain notes, not only is “third gender” as a category already suspect, because it existsmore as a category by and for anthropologists and activists, however good their intentions,than it does as any part of the lived reality of the groups it ostensibly describes, it also doeslittle to help. Much like Towle and Morgan find as well, no matter how liberatory the termseems to be, it mainly shows “that anthropologists are complicit in creating the very categoriesthey seek to understand and deconstruct.”39 I would also go further and claim that anthropo-logy often ends up creating the very concept of “social group” here out of whole-cloth. Wagnernotes, “[i]f we were absolutely committed to ‘finding’ groups, it would be no trouble to assumethat these distinctions are descriptions or definitions of concrete, bounded, and empirically ex-isting groups.”40 I am not claiming that hijra and khawaja sara as a group—and groups thereof—do not exist, but rather that, as already shown, these are fuzzy boundaries to begin with andfurthermore the group that often  is assumed to exist is  some sort of unified “global  trans-gender,” that can be defined and described  per se. Rather, as I shall attempt to argue in thisthesis, there are likely many local conceptions of transness and gender to be found throughoutthe world, each of  which must be addressed and researched on its own terms first and fore-38 Hossain, “The Paradox of Recognition,” 1429.39 Towle and Morgan, “Romancing the Transgender Native,” 474.40 Wagner, “Are There Social Groups in the New Guinea Highlands?”13most, before it can be brought into dialogue with any other conception from anywhere else,not just the West.41 In essence, the act of observing cements that which we are assuming tomeasure.2.4 An Ever-Unfolding Umbrella: The Rise of TransgenderMuch like any of the terms and categories discussed earlier, transgender itself requireda series of movements, theories, and events to cement it into discourse as it stands today: as acategory of internal identity,42 and then allow it to be disseminated in South Asia. We will ex-amine the second point, its spread in South Asia, later in this thesis. For now, we will examinethe historical conditions of its development, particularly including the racialized and classedaspects of the term, which are vital to know before we can continue to unpack its use else-where in the world.Valentine provides an extensive analysis of the rise of the term and concept of trans-gender in Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category.43 For this thesis, what is relev-ant is the ever-changing inclusions and dis-inclusions that the term came to embody, and theaccompanying logics those movements revealed according to Valentine. Let us begin with athread introduced earlier that we can finally expand here, that of sexuality and gender as twoostensibly separate realms. Valentine writes that “[t]he tensions between gender-normative ho-mosexual desire and public gender variance is apparent as early as the late nineteenth century,and they were carried over into the earliest homosexual rights movements in debates about41 For further discussions of representation beyond colonial systems, see Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks. Andfor explorations of other indigenous concepts of universality, see  Meyer, “Indigenous and Authentic.” For adiscussion of the formulation and critiques of post-colonial theorizing, consult Spivak, A Critique of Postcolo-nial  Reason. Alternative conceptions  of  time and space metaphors  are  discussed in  Da Silva,  “DifferenceWithout Separability”; Da Silva, “Unpayable Debt: Reading Scenes of Value against the Arrow of Time.” 42 Valentine, Imagining Transgender, 106. “Indeed, ‘transgender’ is culturally unintelligible without a concept of‘identity.’”43 Valentine, Imagining Transgender.14strategy, civil rights, and what kinds of gendered/sexual expressions were valid.”44 When syn-thesized with Foucault and D’Emilio as mentioned earlier, we can already see a picture emer -ging of an anxious colonial authority, that was inasmuch fashioning its own vision of whatbinary gender and sexuality ought to be. That is, sexuality was not gender and vice versa inthis system, but heterosexuality still required that there be the categories male and female tobuttress its claim that opposite attraction was the only “acceptable” arrangement of gender andsexuality. In this picture, then, encounters with hijra and khawaja sara in colonial India servedjust as much as “evidence” for the “superiority” of binaries between genders and between sexu-ality and gender as they did as formative moments in-and-of-themselves. With that in mind,we can return to Burton’s translation of the Kama Sutra again, and re-read these lines from thesection “Of The Auparishtaka Or Mouth Congress,” which state:There are two kinds of eunuchs, those that are disguised as males, and those thatare disguised as females. Eunuchs disguised as females imitate their dress, speech,gestures, tenderness, timidity, simplicity, softness and bashfulness. The acts that aredone on the jaghana or middle parts of women, are done in the mouths of these eu-nuchs, and this is called Auparishtaka [1]45 These eunuchs derive their imaginablepleasure, and their livelihood from this kind of congress, and they lead the life ofcourtesans. So much concerning eunuchs disguised as females. Eunuchs disguised as males keep their desires secret, and when they wish to doanything they lead the life of shampooers. Under the pretence of shampooing, a eu-nuch of this kind embraces and draws towards himself the thighs of the man whomhe is shampooing, and after this he touches the joints of his thighs and his jaghana,or central portions of his body. Then, if he finds the lingam of the man erect, hepresses it with his hands and chaffs him for getting into that state. If after this, andafter knowing his intention, the man does not tell the eunuch to proceed, then thelatter does it of his own accord and begins the congress. If however he is ordered bythe man to do it, then he disputes with him, and only consents at last with diffi-culty. The following eight things are then done by the eunuch one after the other:The  nominal  congress/Biting  the  sides/Pressing  outside/Pressing  inside/Kissing/Rubbing/Sucking a mango fruit/Swallowing up....4644 Ibid., 53.45 I save analyzing the footnote attached to this line for later in this thesis, for it works well when analyzingsexuality.46 Mallanāga, The Kama Sutra, 53–56.15There is much to unpack here, so we will work thematically. As already mentioned, we cannotbe sure of “eunuch” as an effective translation, but as mentioned I am more concerned with thelogics of the colonial apparatus, not with the translation per se. The colonial tendency to cat-egorize and classify, which Reddy explored, echoed across the times and spaces of South Asia,as did the thread of colonial anxiety related to gender/sexuality. The breaking into “kinds of eu-nuchs” would be echoed, as noted by Dutta, time and again in the colonial record. Some “kindsof eunuchs” would be considered more “valid” while than others, and “evidence” to supportthis fact would be mined up from anywhere and anyone possible to shore up the cause. Butbeyond that, in relation to sexuality, gender, and transgender, this passage flies in the face ofany neat separations of these concepts. Not only is gender variance woven together with sexu-ality in this passage, it also marries together sex acts with gender with sexuality. As Valentinenotes, the neat cleaving of sexuality and gender into gay, straight, and transgender, has despite,“... all its use[s] to transgender-identified people ... ‘transgender’ also has the effect of shoringup claims (however contested) about gender-normative,  respectable, and privately practicedhomosexuality within the tentatively refigured white, middle-class family of the late twentiethand early twenty-first century.”47 That is, governmental and regulatory respectability would al-low the trajectory of both modern gay/lesbian rights movements and transgender rights move-ments to achieve certain wins, within a relationship where gender respectability and the statebecome tied. Respectability in the eyes of the state and its apparatuses will emerge throughoutthis thesis as a key point, especially as counter to the oftentimes brutal actual lived realities ofhijra and khawaja sara in South Asia. 47 Valentine, Imagining Transgender, 242.16Indeed, the descriptions of sex acts tied to gender tied to sexuality, as seen above, wouldbe of little to no use today to either gay/lesbian activists nor to transgender activists alike. Forall its benefits to marginalized people, perhaps one of the main drivers of the use of the term isthe very fact that it neatly categorizes and that it allows both advocates in sexuality and genderto offset any discussion of non-normative sexualities. That is, the passage from the Kama Sutraabove is the sort of thing advocates of both gay/lesbian rights and transgender rights wished tocast off, and the neat cleaving of the two fields of study ostensibly allowed that. What we seeemerging here, then, is a thread wherein a split conception of gender and sexuality not onlyafforded activists a powerful (if fraught) tool to gain progress, it also created an intrinsic out -side that at once shored up terms and conceptions around sexuality/gender while being held atarm’s length.48 What such a split entailed was that, on the grounds of a sexuality divorced fromgender, sexual orientation could cast off notions of gendered “deviance.” And, gender, as di-vorced from sexuality, afforded the chance to cast off notions of sexual “deviance.” In essence,the two would come to buttress each other. As a consequence, this split would leave its rem-nants behind and the promise of rights and regulatory victories would also come with muchfallout. As will  be examined later,  it  was not as neat a cleaving as hoped, and the severedthreads that once tied together these imaginaries still persist today, as does the ever-present al-lure of governmental respectability.Throughout his book, Valentine notes that sometimes certain groups were deemed tofall under transgender and sometimes they were not, and sometimes those assumed to be ableto be described by that label found little use for it, and that these people were usually people ofcolour, often Black, did drag, were poor, and often otherwise marginalized.49 That those in the48 In the words of Butler, a “constitutive outside” as explored in Bodies That Matter.49 Valentine, Imagining Transgender, 105–37.17margins are the ones most contested is something I also find in the deployment of transgenderin South Asia. As Valentine finds, the label of “transgender” did not do the heavy lifting itpromised for Black and racialized minority populations because often the employers of theterm and concept were either privileged either in class, race, situational, and other ways, orthey were outsiders to the communities they were interacting with, which meant their use ofthe term and concept often did not align with the lived realities of the groups they were inter-acting with. That is, the category and matrix of knowledge they were developing and deploy-ing was incomplete.  Thus, it  was not that those being analyzed and living their lives weresomehow doing so “incorrectly.”Which leads me to ask: whither race? Before I do, I must contextualize why I havechosen to marry Black American studies with South Asian studies as will be seen in this thesis.This is because, as Reddy states,... in later accounts (including that by the well-known traveler, Richard Burton), itis apparently the racial element—most of these eunuchs were of African origin andtherefore  ‘not  just  a  non-man but  a  ‘‘black’’  non-man’  (Marmon 1995,  100)—asmuch as the sexual aspect that causes their discomfort. Through all of these ac-counts, eunuchs themselves are never given a voice, their history and representa-tion becoming as much a chronicle of the authors’ preoccupations and anxieties asa historical account of their lives.50C. Riley Snorton explores the early Black American trans experience in Black on Both Sides cit-ing many examples and narratives. I am specifically interested in examples from the chapter “ANightmarish Silhouette,” which looks at the ascendance of Christine Jorgensen’s wholesome,middle-class, all-American white womanhood in parallel with other Black American (trans)50 Reddy, With Respect to Sex, 24. A full examination of the enslavement of African peoples in South Asia is bey-ond the scope of this thesis. As a starting point, I direct readers to Chatterjee and Eaton, Slavery and SouthAsian History; Clarence-Smith, The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century . For afuller discussion of the entangling of gendering and un-gendering and therefore un-personing as Reddy out-lines here, see Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.”18gender experiences. Snorton notes that anti-Blackness ran as an undercurrent in much of thesolidification of what transsexual would come to mean,51 and as Valentine examines, it contin-ued on into the creation of transgender. It thus makes sense that whiteness would continue tooperate when the term was (re)figured to apply to the Subcontinent. Indeed, much like femin-ism had to grapple with essentialist, universalizing constructions of “womanhood,” global transstudies must also address whiteness and race more broadly. I am not arguing that modern-dayhijra and khawaja sara are Black, but rather that the processes seen in this quote mean thatgender, caste, race, and class operate in entangled ways in South Asia and co-constitute eachother.  Similarly,  race,  gender,  and class operate  in co-constituted ways in the West,  wheretransgender as a term and concept saw its formative movements. Thus, we are able to comparethe fissures and breakdowns along these lines when transgender is mapped onto hijra andkhawaja sara and vice versa by using the scholarship of Black American studies to offer uspoints of similarities and dissimilarities to theorize. We shall save a deeper dive into the nu -ances of comparing these two lifeworlds for later in this thesis. For now, we note that trans-gender is inextricable from raciality,  progress,  and nation-building. As Snorton writes:  “theconstitution and consolidation of a set of discourses known as ‘transsexuality’ [and, I argue,transgender] ... reveal the mechanisms by which the nation and its histories constituted (anddisavowed) the frailty of its own narratives ... in order to represent with authority a version ofprogress over time.”52 That is, as mentioned earlier, concepts of governmental respectability, na-tion, and progress allowed for a narrative in which sexuality and gender, ostensibly but imper-fectly cleaved from one another, helped fuel a concept of nationhood in which governmental51 Snorton, “A Nightmarish Silhoette.”52 Snorton, Black on Both Sides, 169.19respectability and regulatory efforts on (trans) gender came to mean “progress” and access topaper rights and concessions, something that we shall see occurs again in South Asia.3. “I Know What I Am”53 Because of What We All Are: Conceptions of(Trans) Gender Selfhoods Beyond IdentityI begin this section with the words of a Pakistani khawaja sara herself. First, becausemany of my sources are already ethnographies, and second because with the heavy-yet-incom-plete work of defining-and-then-undefining already underway, we can go no farther withoutdoing  so.  Additionally,  focusing  on  an  example  helps  illuminate  the  lifeworlds  in  whichkhawaja sara navigate the various concepts we have thus far unpacked. In “Once ostracised,now Pakistani  transgender  people  are  running for  parliament,”  from  The Guardian,  Barkerquotes Zara, a khawaja sara, writing:The ruling means a lot to Zara. Kneeling on a mattress that takes up most of thefloor of her concrete home, she reaches into a fake alligator-skin purse and pullsout a green identity card, and tears well up. On the card, Zara’s gender is marked as“X”./ “I was born with a very small male organ. Inside, my feelings are female,” the35-year-old said. “I want to live like a woman, cook and do domestic work./ Our ap-pearance is different, so why should we have to have ‘male’ on our identity card?”54Though this may initially gloss as a neat slotting of gender as identity, inline with what trans-gender carries, let us unpack some ideas here. “Inside my feelings are female” does indeed seemto point to an identity-based concept of gender, but the next line “I want to live like a woman,cook and do domestic work” recalls the South Asian conception of gender as at least partly ac-tion-based à la  the Kama Sutra, above, and pre-Victorian European conceptions of much thesame as well. I argue that the next line, “[o]ur appearance is different, so why should we haveto have ‘male’ on our identity card?” makes clear both the difficulties in translating khawajasara into transgender and the strengths of doing so all at once. In this conception of gender and53 Valentine, Imagining Transgender, 105.54 Barker, “Once Ostracised, Now Pakistani Transgender People Are Running for Parliament.”20society, actions and identity exist in a constant dialogue, always in communication with oneanother. That is, it is impossible to reduce Zara’s conception of herself down to “feeling” anyparticular way nor to “acting” in any particular way. Furthermore, she uses the “X” option onher ID card, further complicating any neat divisions between action-identity-expression. Dis-tinctions between gender identity and expression do not hold up here, and this is precisely thepoint at which generative ideas can occur. But if this feels like it violates a central tenant oftransgender, that action, identity, and sexuality are distinct fields of inquiry, Valentine providesinsights into much the same breakdowns in his research.55 That is, “... none of these people’sunderstandings of themselves or their desires are intelligible in political categories of collectiveagency, because of the gap between their understandings of personhood and the political cat-egories of identity which claim to represent them.”56 This theoretical anxiety, this sense that asensible matrix of knowledge had been violated often manifested itself, Valentine found, in thefollowing manner:... members’ resistance to being identified as transgender was dismissed by my so-cial service provider colleagues as ‘transphobia.’ Likewise, fem queens’ and butches’use of the term “gay” to describe themselves was dismissed by one social serviceprovider  who said to me,  “They are  working with the master’s  tools,”  invokingAudre Lorde.[10: The quote is: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the mas-ter’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but theywill never enable us to bring about genuine change” (Lorde 1984: 112, emphasis inoriginal).] That is, she saw the Clubhouse ball-goers (and others like them) as oper-ating under a kind of false consciousness which disabled them from understandingthe distinctions between gendered and sexual identities.57Valentine finds that such distinctions are a product of the matrix of knowledge we  wish  wecould apply to those we study, and the resulting anxiety stems from that desire to implement it,not from those studied being “wrong” or somehow not yet up-to-date on some supposed “nat-55 Valentine, Imagining Transgender, 105–37.56 Ibid., 108.57 Ibid., 99.21ural” distinction between gender, sex, and sexuality.58 If, in this conception of gender, identity,expression, and action cannot be neatly cleaved, then so be it. Much like native speakers of alanguage do not make mistakes, people do not “comprehend themselves incorrectly” when at-tempting to explain themselves to us.Yet there are also strengths in the translation as well. Transgender as a term allowsZara and narratives like hers to be immediately taken up and at least somewhat understood bystructures of bureaucracy, foreign readers, scholars, news media, NGOs, and the like. Also, ithas the possibility to cover her narrative, because as Valentine pointed out earlier, transgenderis indeed a term that shifts and moves, its non-rigid boundaries have always been capable ofexpanding to include other conceptions. It also, vitally, avoids the temptation to declare any-thing “untranslatable,” which often results in essentializing difference. Colonialism often castsindigenous cultures this way when attempting to justify its ends; the natives are somehowtotally beyond reach while simultaneously holding on to some ancient knowledge that we cannever comprehend: merely racism dressed up in nicer clothes. Analyzing these issues, fissures,and conceptions requires careful due diligence, not easy platitudes. As content as Zara seems,there are many yawning gaps exposed by others that we shall see.3.1 Communal SelvesTo go further, we must understand that coming to be a hijra and/or khawaja sara is adifferent process than identifying as transgender. And unpacking those nuances is vital for ournext turn: the fissures, breakages, and elisions that transgender carries when it arrives in thesubcontinent and butts up against already present gender systems and understandings; howthese ideas once again carry the echoes of the colonial terms we outlined at the beginning of58 Ibid., 108–9.22this thesis. What I argue is that the lifeworlds of hijra and khawaja sara as concepts and terms,outlined earlier, are just as strong and vibrant as the lifeworld of transgender. When attemptingto map these onto one another, we found both that it is at once not entirely possible, but alsorevelatory in what it exposes. That is, unlike Valentine’s “gaps” or Snorton’s observation of“weakness” I find that this is entangled territory, in which we cannot neatly cleave the fieldinto “dominant culture and subculture.” That is the “subculture” is a vibrant lifeworld unto it-self.59A key part of many hijra and khawaja sara narratives, and one found by Reddy, Dutta,Khan, Nanda, and others consists in joining a community of others (recall Zara’s use of “we”and “our”).60 That is, becoming a hijra or khawaja sara is not an individual act. It requires re-cognition from a community of others. Along with this, as these authors explore, is a system ofteacher-and-student style of learning and initiation, called guru and chela, along with a matri -lineal mother of the house.61 Note that this is not exactly unique to hijra and khawaja sara inSouth Asia. Musicians, courtesans, and other organizations, life paths, and experiences use thisor similar systems as well, and have for likely an equally long time as hijra and khawaja sara.That is, they work with a system of knowledge and identity and group membership that isalready extant within the Subcontinent, and already at least somewhat intelligible by peopleversed in such a context. Yet hijra and khawaja sara are also assumed to have broken with theirbirth families and have no extended kin system there.62 Gender,  then, in this world,  is not59 For further discussion on culture and subculture, see Hebdige, Subculture. And for a critique of Hebdige on hisglossing over women and aspects of gender, see McRobbie, Feminism and Youth Culture. In particular see thechapter McRobbie, “Settling Accounts with Subculture.”60 Reddy,  With Respect  to  Sex;  Dutta,  “An Epistemology  of  Collusion”;  Khan,  “Khwaja  Sara,  Hijra,  and  theStruggle for Rights in Pakistan”; Khan, “What Is in a Name?”; Nanda, Neither Man Nor Woman.61 Reddy, With Respect to Sex; Nanda, Neither Man Nor Woman.62 Reddy, With Respect to Sex, 144.23purely the result of individual identification, but it also clearly requires at least some sense ofboth identity and community. As Reddy writes,Contrary to popular constructions of hijras as individuals without enduring kinties, [2 This is an understanding that hijras themselves sometimes play with andperpetuate in the public domain. When hijras ran for public office in North India,for instance, their electoral platform explicitly highlighted their lack of kin ties:without “family,” there was no danger of nepotism and corruption...] hijras them-selves repeatedly articulate the importance of these [guru, chela, mother] relation-ships in constructing their sense of identity.63Here we see another comparison with transgender that sets hijra and khawaja sara apart, yet Iargue there is a moment here for dialogue. There is a chance for these two conceptions tospeak. But to understand how, we again have to look at they way transgender crumbles even inits formative years. For that, let us turn again to Snorton. While Snorton’s book cites many ex-amples and explores many topics, what I am interested in is the chapter “A Nightmarish Sil-houette.” Here he cites examples of Black American trans people along with Christine Jor-gensen’s narrative. What I find useful in focusing on these examples throughout this thesis ishow they illuminate a lifeworld of Black American gendered experiences just as vibrant as theostensible “norm” of Jorgensen’s narrative. That is, much like hijra and khawaja sara are vi -brant terms and concepts with their own spacetimes and lifeworlds that cannot be called “sub-cultural,” neither can these Black American trans experiences, which is why they serve as use-ful comparison points for this thesis. Similarly, attempts to map then-current 1950s terms andconcepts such as “transsexual” or “female impersonator” onto these lived realities also displaysthe entangled upsets and fissures at play in the formation, dissemination, and transfigurationsof these terms, much like what happens when transgender is deployed in South Asia.63 Ibid.24As already hinted at earlier  in this  thesis,  in the section on definitions,  the overallwhite, middle class construction of transsexuality in the narrative of Christine Jorgensen stoodin marked contrast to the foreclosed Black ways of knowing gender and of knowing transnessaround the same time.64 Snorton writes that Black trans people in the USA “illustrate—albeitcircumscribed in their partiality—other ways to be trans, in which gender becomes a terrain tomake space for living....”65 So, what were these “spaces for living”? In my view, what stands outamong Snorton’s tracings of these alternate and equally vibrant ways of knowing gender is athread that  is  familiar in hijra and khawaja sara narratives:  communal  and non-individualways of knowing one’s self and one’s gender. Take, for example, this quote from Mary Jones, aBlack trans person from 1836, who states: “I have been in the practice of waiting upon Girls ofill fame ... and they induced me to dress in Women’s Clothes, saying I looked so much better inthem and I have always attended parties among the people of my own Colour dressed in thisway—and in New Orleans I always dressed in this way.”66 Note that Jones’s conception of theself draws upon more than just her own sense of being and identity, it calls upon her largercommunity, “people of my own Colour,” and place “in New Orleans,” in contrast to the highlyindividualized conceptions of trans that would come to typify the transsexual movement. Muchlike hijra and khawaja sara, who join a community of others to understand the self, this con-ception of the self and identity relies on community and non-individualist constructions, a de-parture from liberal and later neoliberal individualism.67 As Snorton explores, anti-Blacknessran as an undercurrent in much of the solidification of what transsexual would come to mean,64 Snorton, “A Nightmarish Silhoette.”65 Snorton, Black on Both Sides, 182.66 Ibid., 71.67 For further discussion of liberal and neoliberal conceptions and constructions of selfhood and identity, seeMelamed, “The Spirit of Neoliberalism: From Racial Liberalism to Neoliberal Multiculturalism.”25and as Valentine examines, it continued on into the consolation of transgender. It thus makessense that whiteness, with all its ties to individualism and respectability, would continue to op-erate when the term is refigured to apply to the Subcontinent.3.2 Race, Respectability, Gender, and the NGOThus, understanding hijra and khawaja sara in a context that is  racialized  and (trans)gendered allows for a range of useful critical movements. Consider, as Snorton writes of CarlettBrown, a black trans woman whole also garnered press coverage in the mid 1950s along withJorgensen, but who was frequently cast as her double, despite the differences between theirstories,  especially racially. Brown kept ties with female impersonators,  a marked differencefrom Jorgensen whose construction of a wholesome all-American white womanhood was outof reach for Brown.68 Snorton quotes a Jet article on Brown and writes,According to ... [a] Jet article, “Although he plans to have his sex changed, Brownwill keep his ties with female impersonators. Said he: “I feel that impersonators arebeing denied their right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when they arearrested for wearing female clothes—especially when they are minding their ownbusiness.” [66 “Shake Dancer Postpones Sex Change for Face Lifting,” Jet, August 6,1953, 19.] Brown’s argument for the rights of female impersonators via the lan-guage  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  pronounces  an  experiential  distancebetween Brown and Jorgensen, her supposedly superlative double.... Brown’s com-ment here also reveals police harassment as a structuring condition that would con-tinue to tether a future post-op Brown to those described as “female impersonators”and, in doing so, casts doubt on sexual-reassignment surgery’s ability to transformher future encounters with the police.69Note that in this figuration, we not only see community solidarity, again a marked similarity tomany hijra and khawaja sara narratives, but also the inescapable logics of racism. That is, eventoday there is “doubt on sexual-reassignment surgery’s ability to transform her future encoun-ters with the police” for Black trans women in America, and later in this thesis it proves true in68 Snorton, “A Nightmarish Silhoette.”69 Snorton, Black on Both Sides, 165.26South Asia as well. Or, in other words, both black trans people and hijra and khawaja sara ex-pose a fissure in the national,  racial,  and transnational  logics  that allows “transgender”  totravel the globe. For example, that it sounds bizarre to call trans people in America “hijra” isbecause of these same logics of race and gender. Ironically, it is precisely this situation that alsopresents us with a chance for dialogue between hijra and khawaja sara and transgender asterms and concepts, but only if we keep constant attention on the questions of race, nation-states,  and international flows of capital and knowledge. Rather than considering hijra andkhawaja sara as “supposedly superlative double” concepts to that of transgender, we can exam-ine their narratives in the larger flows of global capital, racialization, and colonialism. Note,too, the call to appeal to the logics of the state, even though Brown is acutely aware that verystate is also the one to enact police violence. Thus, Snorton also notes that:... Jorgensen’s spectacularized transsexual ‘freedom’ was tethered to equally robustrepresentations of racialized unfreedom, not only as they pertained to Brown andthe vulnerabilities of ‘female impersonators’ but also as they were playing out inimagistic expressions of the U.S.’s ever-expanding interventionist Cold War ideo-logy and in the density of images of decolonial struggles around the world. As anexposure of the ways U.S. colonial-imperial authority is shored up by whitenessand a constitutive disavowal of the nation’s foundational logic of white supremacy,Brown’s expression gave discursive form to mimicry’s disturbing relation to thelanguage and logics of colonial-imperial authority, as it pointed to the constitutiveshadow that obstructed the U.S.’s expressed commitment to democracy and free-dom.70Again I draw upon one particularly notable example in the text here. Snorton’s book, as men-tioned, contains other discussions and chapters. I use this example for illustrative purposes.What does it help us illuminate? Let us turn to South Asia in greater detail. Khan writes, “... themore contemporary term transgender or TG as they are popularly known within the NGOcommunity” exists in Pakistan.71 She writes, in another article, of the “Gender Interactive Alli-70 Ibid., 167.71 Khan, “What Is in a Name?”27ance” which speaks on behalf of “transgender communities (a term they use interchangeablywith khwaja sara)” and who claim to lobby and advocate to the government.72 She also writesof “NAZ Male Health Alliance (NAZ)” that was “established in 2011 as an [sic] non-govern-mental organization” that provides “technical, financial, and institutional support for improv-ing the sexual health, welfare, and human rights of males who have sex with males and, morerecently, those they refer to as transgender communities in Pakistan.”73 I also add TransActionPakistan, whose website states they work “for the wellbeing and protection of transgender andintersex community. We aim to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality,rights and inclusion in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”74 Interestingly they list many of their activistpoints and literature directly from other organizations, including GLAAD.75 And they list pub-lications (whose links are alas broken) that call upon familiar rainbow flag imagery, along witha booklet on which the cover states, in Urdu, “ںؤارس هج اوخ ” (“khawaja saras”), but the Englishcaption reads “Trans Rights.”76 To paraphrase Snorton, while transgender indicates a sense of“progress” it also tied governmental respectability to regulatory discourses and papered overits own entanglements to enable such a move.77 If gender could become just this sort of tool,what form could it take? Let us turn to Hortense Spillers in “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe.”Spillers writes that “[t]he female in ‘Middle Passage,’ as the apparently smaller physical mass,occupies ‘less room’ in a directly translatable money economy. But she is, nevertheless, quanti-72 Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan,” 1300.73 Ibid., 1306.74 “About Us.”75 “Allies of Transgender People.”76 “Publications.”77 Snorton, “A Nightmarish Silhoette.”28fiable by the same rules of accounting as her male counterpart.”78 That is, in figuring Black wo-manhood, all was reduced to capital, property, and value-as-commodity. It thus makes sensethat Jorgensen’s respectable white womanhood would emerge as a double offsetting: that ofcasting away suggestions of race and suggestions of sexuality. The vibrant lifeworlds of BlackAmerican (trans) gender experiences, such as of the Black “female impersonators” (to quote the1950s press) represented sexual and gender excess, taboos ever present and entangled but con-tinually offset. Ideally we would examine these threads of sexuality and race concurrently. Ihave yet to devise a method to write text on top of itself to do this, however. So, I start by fo -cusing on race, then. If we stop our analysis of transgender in South Asia at “well it serves astrategic advantage” and drop any further inquiries, we may only end up re-enacting the logicsoutlined earlier in this paragraph. Or, in the words of Chatterjee, “[i]t may be the conscious ad-option of a kind of transgender identity that provides someone with social or cultural capital,as opposed to being able to term oneself transgender [emphasis original] as a direct function ofalready having such capital.”79 Again note here that the kind of respectability being discussed isrelated to logics of governmentality, and not per se respect as in intra- and inter-community in-teractions, which as we shall see later is a more fraught topic.But what “respectability capital” could be accessed if one were to adopt the label? Vialooking at NGO work and the quotes of hijra and khawaja sara themselves, we can understandsome of that appeal. In 2018, Pakistan’s government hired their first transgender (in the wordsof news articles) employee: Nomi (that is, if we disregard the roles hijra and khawaja saraserved in the Mughal India and earlier). The website “Pro Pakistani” quotes her as saying “[i] tis still unbelievable I got a respectable government job on merit and now I will be able to earn78 Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe,” 72.79 Chatterjee, “Transgender Shifts: Notes on Resignification of Gender and Sexuality in India,” 314.29money with full respect and dignity.”80 Echoing Zara, she also states, “[s]ince my childhood, Iused to see how my mother was cooking and from her, I have learned to cook all dishes.” 81 Andshe also expresses some very real concerns about the violence and indignity of her former oc-cupations, “I hope now people will feel proud of me rather than degrading me by calling me‘Khusra’82 and asking me to dance.”83 The job provides key benefits that cannot be overlooked:security, a steady income, and “... a warning that any individual found guilty of harassing Nomishall be terminated.”84 It thus makes sense that transgender and its deployment—recall this jobcomes after the passage of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act—has real, materialbenefits that we cannot ignore. The idea of governmental respectability as tied to being a good Muslim is somethingthat many khawaja sara work with and navigate. This is a vital thread for understanding theirgendered lifeworlds. Hossain explores this and writes that,... hijra routinely travel between and across national boundaries—and in the senseof moving between different sorts of social settings and occupational positions andritual statuses. It is evident that being a hijra does not stand as a roadblock to one’sparticipation in Islamic practices, from daily prayers to roadside preaching. Manyhijra aspire to become, and be acknowledged as, good and pious Muslims, and theirefforts to do so often require them to negotiate their own and others’ expectationsof what is and is not appropriately Islamic in relation to their own and others’ ex-pectations of what does and does not define hijrahood.85Thus, for hijra and khawaja sara, Islam is not something that constrains their experiences andpractices, but much like the very names they use to refer to themselves and the narratives theyshare, it becomes part of the lifeworld that they inhabit and shape. This in turn also factors in80 Shabbir, “Government Appoints First-Ever Transgender Employee.”81 Ibid.82 This term is a slur. Another whole section or indeed thesis could be written on the status of various terms andslurs in South Asia related to hijra and khawaja sara communities, but these alas cannot be satisfactorily in-cluded in this thesis.83 Shabbir, “Government Appoints First-Ever Transgender Employee.”84 Ibid.85 Hossain, “Beyond Emasculation: Being Muslim and Becoming Hijra in South Asia.”30what others perceive being a “good Muslim” is, as Hossain notes. As we can see, then, Islam issomething that enables the very sort of dancing along boundaries that hijra and khawaja saraare known for.With that idea in mind, let us turn to the photograph of Nomi seen in the article: shestands at a cooking pot wearing a shalwar kameez and with a white dupatta on her head:86 aniconic image of wholesome, caste, domestic femininity in South Asia, especially Pakistan. Webegin by working with that image. Khan writes of Nergis:Nergis identifies herself as a khwaja sara and as a haji (one who has performed thepilgrimage in Mecca). As such, she claims space for herself as a practising Muslimand as a khwaja sara, while she promises integrity and political honesty should shebe elected. Nergis has mobilized the electoral process to open up a space where kh-waja sara can make demands sustaining trans∗ folk in the informal economy of beg-ging, badhai, and performance at functions. She has learned to negotiate govern-ment processes to acquire a better share of benefits for her community, and sheclaims for other impoverished Pakistanis as well. Her quest for political status re-minds us that the electoral process promises an opportunity to claim a share ofstate resources. Moreover Nergis’s  status as haji,  her simple white shalwar kamiz ... completewith a white dupatta draped over head, and her consistent invoking of pious lan-guage disrupt normative understandings of khwaja sara as solely reduced to sexual-ized bodies.  Instead,  her  demeanour  and comments  suggest  that  non-normativegender, sexuality, and piety can exist in the same body. At the same time, Nergisuses political rhetoric and quotations from the Qur’an to remind viewers that kh-waja  sara  fulfil  important  functions  at  the  Kaaba  in  Mecca  and  the  Prophet’smosque in Medina. Inviting other politicians to come and debate issues with her,Nergis beats her chest on air as she claims relevance in the electoral process. Herseemingly contradictory positionalities have been legitimized through the electoralprocess and under the terms of the recent status accorded the khwaja sara by theSupreme Court and she has been declared qualified to run for elections. The per-sona she projects muddles the seamless understandings of piety, morality, sexuality,and citizenship, and is quite distinct from the commonly held assumptions aboutsexualization of khwaja sara. On the same show, religious scholar Mufti Abdul Qaviendorses Nergis’s ability to run for elections when he draws upon a verse in theQur’an [61 To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He createswhat he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whomHe wills males (Verse 49) and Or He makes them [both] males and females, Sura 42,86 Shabbir, “Government Appoints First-Ever Transgender Employee.”31Verse 50, Qur’an.] and states that ‘Allah has made men and women and he hasmade in between people, the khwaja sara. As long as they qualify they should be al-lowed to run’.87Nergis, much like Nomi, has likely learned to work with image, government, and religion towork the system to advance herself and community. Nergis also exhibits much of the foldingtogether and blending of sexuality, action, identity, religion, and gender this thesis discusses.Here we can also again pick up the thread that ties gendering, religion, and politics. Recall firstReddy’s line that hijra manipulate the social perceptions of their identities in politics. Nergisdoes much the same here. Next, recall my brief mentioning of mukhannathun as it relates to Is-lam, and khawaja sara and hijra as decidedly marked terms of Persian-ness and Islamicness.Here,  religiosity  ties into respectability ties  into politics  in ways that are both enabled bykhawaja-sara-as-transgender activism and that are also yet not captured by what transgenderostensibly entails. Thus, it is becoming clear here that transgender, with its notions of progress,nation-building, globalness, and respectability does have effective modes of action that creatematerial benefits in Pakistan and South Asia, but something is also being foreclosed as some-thing else is being opened up.To unpack this further, let us turn to Reddy again. In “‘We Are All Musalmans Now’”from With Respect to Sex. Reddy notes some key themes: that of Islam as practice, hijra goingon Hajj, blurring gender lines in Islam itself, the ever-presence of Hinduism regardless, and thehistorical flows of Islam in South Asia.88 These topics are far too vast to give full treatmenthere, but I bring them up because I underline Reddy’s point that Islam does something with re-gard to gender, sexuality, place, and space in South Asia. As Reddy writes,87 Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan,” 1303–4.88 Reddy, With Respect to Sex, 99–120.32Perhaps,  as  Lawrence  Cohen  suggests  (pers.  comm.),  in  this  particular  context,Muslim identification can be seen as potentially translocal, or transnational even, ina way that various Hindu identifications cannot. Could it be hijras’ very supralocal-ity, their ability to cross borders—of gender, religion, and nation—that allows fortheir Muslim positionality? ... it symbolizes a supralocal transnationality—an “all-India pass” that permits hijras to travel on public transportation, free of charge,anywhere in the subcontinent, including Pakistan (see Cohen 1995a, 1995b).... per-haps hijras, whether “real” or symbolic, are not only constituted by the axis of reli-gion but also embody the only transcendent position in a world of categorical abso-lutes in contemporary (Hindu) India—the very violence of their becoming locatingthem indelibly as the ultimate border agents of humanity in contemporary SouthAsia.89Taking these statements together I argue this: Islam is already border crossing and interna-tional  in the South Asian imaginary,  in addition to being politically beneficial  in Pakistan.Harking back to the earliest sections of this thesis which showed the exonymic-endonymicstatus of hijra and khawaja sara, it perhaps is then no surprise that transgender and Islammarry so well in this imaginary. Both already have crossed or are currently crossing borders;both have been or are being (re)figured and (re)deployed. Both claim to be relevant at once toboth the entire world and any particular locality. Keep these points in mind. I drop this threadnow for reasons of staying on topic, but it gets picked up again later in this thesis in the sec-tion on sexuality.With all of that covered, let us turn to the laws themselves. I do this because once againthe law contains indications of breakages and fissures that alas spoil the somewhat rosy pictureI may have painted a few paragraphs earlier. Take the following passages: “The TransgenderPersons (Protection of Rights) Bill,  2017 seeks to:/ (i)  define a Transgender Person...,”90 andearlier states that a “‘Transgender Person’ is a person who is:-/ (i) Intersex (Khunsa) with mix-ture of male and female genital features or congenital ambiguities; or/ (ii) Eunuch assigned89 Reddy, With Respect to Sex.90 Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, 11.33male at birth, but undergoes genital excision or castration; or/ (iii) a Transgender Man, Trans-gender Woman, KhawajaSira or any person whose gender identity and/or gender expressiondiffers from the social norms and cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned atthe time of their birth.”91 Consider also India’s 2016 bill, which states “(i) ‘transgender person’means a person who is—/ (A) neither wholly female nor wholly male; or/ (B) a combination offemale or male; or/ (C) neither female nor male;/ and whose sense of gender does not matchwith the gender assigned to that person at the time of birth, and includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.92”93 What strikes me right away isthat both bills include intersex people into the concept of transgender. In the dominant Westernunderstanding while these groups do have many intersections, they still exist as separate. InSouth Asian contexts they  are  included in the scope of hijra and khawaja sara and thereforetransgender. That the bills have similar structure is due to the aforementioned colonial appar-atus that both countries work with; on that note, “eunuch” resurrects itself yet again. All theghosts from Part 2 continue haunt us now. To see how, we must again look at the splits, fis-sures, and tears.In “Pakistan's traditional third gender isn't happy with the trans movement,” MobeenAzhar writes about the deployment of the term “transgender” in Pakistan. She quotes BindiyaRana, a khawaja sara guru with her own house of chelas, writing:But those who identify as transgender ... don’t subscribe to the guru-chelah system.As a result, Rana and her chelahs view the transgender identity as alien and evenimmoral./ “If you don’t have a guru, we don’t recognize you. These people who saythey are transgender; that concept is just wrong,” says one of Rana's chelahs. “They91 Ibid., 2.92 “Gender-queers” is quite an interesting phrasing. It is alas beyond the scope of this thesis to even begin specu-lating here, but I have no doubt something is going on there as well.93 The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, 2.34can never be women. They cannot give birth. Even if they change their bodies theycan’t change who they are. We are not women. We are what Allah has made.”There is much to unpack here, and we will meet Rana again later. So much exists to unpack, infact, that I reach for fiction in the form of film.94 This is because in tracing the film Queens! Des-tiny of Dance, I believe we can find the threads in the above quote and then untangle them. AsHarlan Weaver writes in “Monster Trans” when looking at Stryker’s use of Mary Shelley’sFrankenstein,The nature of theory is to engender a new understanding of the way the worldworks, a new way to take in one's own experiences and make sense of them. Whenreading theory, we are being asked to re-evaluate what we know, to re-understandour worlds and to come to new understandings. Stryker's theory, borne of her mon-strous rage and the diffraction patterns between her and Shelley's monsters, asks usto re-understand our encounters with a gendered social world, for she asks us totake up the anger and frustration these encounters produce and, rather than turnthem into a personalised sense of abjection, a face-less monstrosity, use them todrive us into action. By pushing us to take up the bodily affects, the somatechnicsof bodily feelings, that diffract between her and Shelley's monsters, she interpel-lates us into new and different understandings of language, materiality, and gender,so that we might also be moved by fury and affect, so that we might also transformthe relationship between language and bodies, so that we might also feel differently.Reading Stryker's words, we are asked to transform.”95I view using the film here in much the same way. To understand the way hijra’s and khawajasara’s lives unfold, we can use fiction to understand their complex, nuanced lifeworld. By look-ing at thematic elements, music, dress, language and other aspects of the film’s world, we canalso understand the worlds of hijra and khawaja sara. For some context on the film, the actorsplaying Amma and Nandini are cis, but there are extras who are indeed hijra. The film travelledto various international film festivals, and is directed by David Atkins. As such it has subtitles94 Weaver, “Monster Trans.” For a fuller examination of using fiction to theorize trans concepts, consult Weaver.95 Ibid., 303.35that we will also examine. That is, the film travelled just as much as all the terms we have seentravelled.Queens is a film about a hijra household, organized along their traditional guru-chelasystem. Amma (literally meaning “mother”) owns and runs the house, as guru, and her chelasare assigned tasks in town that are traditionally associated with their community, includingsinging and dancing for newborns and in wedding ceremonies. The task of managing these ap-pointments and of being a recognized dance instructor falls on Mukta, who herself functions asa guru of sorts to other chelas (though not as a mother figure). When an ostensibly cis, rathergender-normative woman, Nandini, arrives in the household, Mukta feels threatened. Not onlydo all the other members of the household seemingly fall head-over-heels for her, but theysometimes abandon their assigned roles and miss opportunities to make money for the house,on top of which Nandini proves to be an accomplished dancer that all the hijras in the housewish to dance like. Amma, however, considers Nandini an angel beyond reproach. The filmthen shows how this all drives Mukta mad, and she ultimately sells Nandini to a human traf -ficker, who rapes and kills her. Nandini haunts Mukta, and forces her to dance until Muktadies. The story is a frame narrative, in which we see the aftermath of Nandini’s death andMukta’s madness, then we are brought back in time to see how and why it occurred.96 We begin by noting the presence and absence of Islam in this film, to understand howIslam is indeed present even when it is ostensibly not there. That is, the film displays the intric-ateness of the forces and flows outlined earlier in this thesis. For example, toward the begin-ning when Mukta is at the blessing of a newborn, she finishes the performance with the de-96 Atkins, Queens!36cidedly Sanskritized form of thank you unique to Hindi, “धन्यवाद” (dhanyavaad) however just afew seconds later when she accepts gifts of clothing for the performance, she says the veryUrdu and Arabic inflected “هی رکش ” (shukriya).97 Islam is present in this film, but only, it seems, inlinguistic hints at India’s Muslim past, or with Hakim, the villain who sexually assaults andkills Nandini.98 This is in marked contrast to much of the research presented in this thesis, inwhich both Indian and Pakistani hijra and khawaja sara remark on the importance of variousaspects of Islam in their life. Where Islam does have this sort of relationship with hijraness isduring Mukta’s breakdown after she leaves the compound. Here, we hear a distinctly qawwaliinfluenced song that not only reflects Mukta’s situation, but because this is qawwali, it also ap-pears to address Allah in the manner of complaint/response the style employs.99 But perhapsthe  most  intractable  but  yet  unquestioned form of  Islam in  the  film is  the  dancing itself.Nandini’s item number is done as mujra,100 a style of dance developed from kathak and notablyperformed by many Muslim courtesans in the Mughal courts.101 Indeed it exists as a very fu-sion-manifested-physical of the synthesis of Hinduism and Islam that hijras speak about em-bodying and enacting, a dance along the borders that hijra balance and break. Mujra is moreabstracted and eroticized than kathak, which itself is a more eroticized and abstracted formused originally to tell the stories of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. 102 Again, the balancing of mas-97 Ibid.98 Ibid.99 Ibid.100 Ibid.101 AFP, “How Facebook Is Killing Lahore’s Heera Mandi”; Agarwal, “Mujra Leaves the Kotha to Party.”102 Walker,  India’s Kathak Dance in Historical Perspective. While there are claims that kathak traces its originsback to Vedic times, as Walker examines these are hard to substantiate. I am greatly simplifying the manytwists and turns of kathak and mujra to save space, and this work should be consulted, along with scholars ofclassical Indian dance in general, to fully understand the nuances I alas cannot cover.37culine/feminine and Hindu/Muslim that hijra and khawaja sara continually negotiate is seenhere in the film and in the lifeworlds they inhabit in South Asia.It would be very easy to read Nandini as threatening to Mukta because of her Islamicly-inflected dance, but that would be far too simple because Mukta herself dances mujra. In fact,while we do see Mukta’s childhood and her process of learning dance, we do not see this fromNandini. Indeed, we do not know how Nandini came to be a good dancer, only that she is.Nandini is also presented in more “Muslimized” garments than many of the hijras: she appearsfirst in the film in a white anarkali suit: a shalwar kameez with a long full, skirt. The shalwarkameez is a historically Muslim-inflected garment that has become a sort of casual Desi univer-sal in India and definitely in Pakistan.103 Most of the hijra in the film wear sarees, though theydo occasionally wear shalwar kameez.104 Here I again restate: we cannot separate identity, ac-tion, presentation, and gender in the South Asian imaginary cleanly. This is most evident intwo points in  Queens.  In one, Mukta puts on decidedly male-coded clothing, the clothes shewas in when she ran from home to join the Amma’s hijra household.105 Though, everywhereshe goes, she is still seen as a hijra by observers. When Mukta does return home in theseclothes, after a heartbreaking experience at her childhood home where she cannot return to theAmma of her past, her birth Amma (it will be clear shortly why the emphasis is there), her cur-rent Amma says she cannot enter the household in the manner she presents herself in. 106 I donot view this merely as clothing as the line ostensibly states. Rather, I see this as Amma statingto Mukta that she cannot enter the household without accepting everything that hijra are, andher household norms. That is, this process involves the very foldings and re-foldings of iden-103 Guha, “The Spread of the Salwar.”104 Atkins, Queens!105 Ibid.106 Ibid.38tity, action, presentation, sexuality and gender as seen throughout this thesis. The garmentsdiscussed here perform many of the same sort of entangled travels that the language and con-cepts around gender do in South Asia as well; recall we saw this with the very terms hijra andkhawaja sara themselves. Here, following the thematic trend of clothing in a fictional world al -lows us to reflect on the entanglements of language and concepts in the actual world.With the idea of language in mind, I must also remark upon the subtitles in this film.Especially when Mukta goes to local officials to have the household’s international dance per-formance approved. Mukta calls trans and other gender figurations from around the world“hijra”  and  the  subtitles  say  “transgenders.”107 Recall  my  earlier  comment  that  this  feels“bizarre”? It did when I first watched the film. But then why does it feel less bizarre to deploy“transgender” in exactly the same manner? And what to make of the odd bit  of grammar,“transgenders,” a wildly offensive term in North American and other varieties of English? In-deed, this phrasing can be found in some of my sources, as well as in others.108 Then also fold inthat brochure from Trans Action,  with the title  containing “ںؤارس  هج اوخ ” (literally  “khawajasaras”). What I believe is happening here is multi-faceted. On one hand, native concepts ofgender and gender variance do allow South Asian populations to view and at least somewhatunderstand  other  such  configurations  from elsewhere,  just  as  transgender  allows  Westernviewers the same opportunity. Furthermore, this practice is an almost-calque from Hindi-Urduinto South Asian English: to make khawaja sara or hijra plural is not unusual in Hindi norUrdu.  As  such,  as  an almost-calque,  (much like  the  garments  worn in  the  film are  cloth-107 Ibid.108 Guramani, “Senate Unanimously Approves Bill Empowering Transgenders to Determine Their Own Identity”;“5 First Transgenders of India | IndiaTV News.”39calques) it would be only logical in that imaginary to say and write “transgenders.” Thus, I be-lieve even at this moment, where there is immense friction between concepts, much like Tannotices in China, that “... the wide circulation of English-derived terms may sometimes inter-sect with existing social hierarchies (cosmopolitan/local,  urban/rural) in Chinese [or indeedSouth Asian] queer communities, they are not  simply transplants from queer politics in theWest [emphasis added].”109 My main caution throughout this thesis is that it is just as easy tothink transgender works as it is to think it is purely a colonial imposition. Neither approach iscorrect in my view. Even though Rana has extreme reservations around its spread, the fact thatthese terms are changing according to Hindi-Urdu grammar rules, is, in my view, “not a pass-ive process of direct adoption but an active process of selecting, reinscribing, and meaningmaking that could be seen as a ‘translingual practice’ (Liu 1995).”110 Of course, not all of thosemeanings and selections are problem-free, but it is happening. As such, the film clarifies theidea that any too-easy or unidirectional reading does not serve to accurately understand whatis occurring in South Asia. The entangled processes here go beyond such easy binaries andplatitudes. Or, to put it in the terms of the film itself, when the “international hijras” do arrive,they are guests of Amma and work within her hierarchy, not the other way around.111 Fromdress to speech, this a lifeworld with its own complex workings.With all that in mind, let us turn to Azhar who writes that, “Kami Choudary has madeinternational headlines and has been billed as ‘Pakistan’s first transgender supermodel.’”112 It isevident that Rana and her chelas likely do not have access to this path. Furthermore, as the filmQueens also makes clear, hijra and khawaja sara “have succeeded in carving out for themselves109 Tan, “Beijing Meets Hawai‘i: Reflections on Ku’er, Indigeneity, and Queer Theory,” 145.110 Ibid., 144.111 Atkins, Queens!112 Azhar, “Pakistan’s Traditional Third Gender Isn’t Happy with the Trans Movement.”40a viable economic niche over which they exercise considerable control both within their owncommunities and in their interactions with outsiders.... [H]ijras have to a large extent corneredan economic market.”113 That is, I argue that Rana is seeing before her one of the fissures thisthesis  examined  earlier:  of  “progress”  and  “development”  via  NGOs  and  globalizing  thatthreatens her and her chelas’ ways of knowing and being in the world and their ways of ac-cessing resources. The nation-state, as explored earlier in this thesis, folds together govern-mental respectability and development in such a way that the other gendered lifeworlds foundwithin it often fall by the wayside. Thus, note, too, that for Rana, “transgender” seems to cap -ture a binarism, yet the concept and term is supposed to imply a multifariousness. Alas, asDutta and Roy note, “... there is a systemic compulsion to exert a strong mono-gendered claimto trans womanhood (or manhood)—one fallout of which is the neat separation of binary andnonbinary identities, recreating a majority-minority dynamic wherein (trans) men and womenare followed by a trail of genderqueer/bigender/agender ‘others.’”114 Rana, I argue, notices thistoo.  Much  like  normative  binary  conceptions  of  (trans)  womanhood  and  (cis)  femininitythreaten Mukta in the form of Nandini,115 they play out for Rana, too. But unlike for Mukta, forwhom much of the “threat” was ultimately self-inflicted, for Rana the stakes are indeed high. Itis then no wonder Rana appeals to Allah, because as we have seen Islam, hijra, and khawajasara inform each other on many levels. Additionally, in Queens, Amma states that if she could have children, she would wantone just like Mukta, ironic because Nandini ends up being shown to be Amma’s niece.116 Yetagain here is Rana, because as Reddy states,113 Nanda, Neither Man Nor Woman, 51.114 Dutta and Roy, “Decolonizing Transgender in India: Some Reflections,” 333.115 Atkins, Queens!116 Ibid.41Despite all [the] accoutrements of femininity, hijras and other kotis did not unequi-vocally think of themselves as women.... The most explicit proof of this is their in-ability to produce children. Almost all the hijras I interacted with appeared to lovechildren, and many harbored a fantasy of giving birth and nursing a child. They of-ten insisted on my photographing them while they “nursed” a child in their laps,but as they themselves indicated, “hijras cannot give birth to a child themselves.”117Dutta and Roy note even under the umbrella of transgender, there is “... a majority-minoritydynamic wherein (trans) men and women are followed by a trail  of genderqueer/bigender/agender ‘others.’” Furthermore, as Reddy points out in her work with hijra, there already alsoexists a concept of honour and community respectability that hijra work with: izzat.118 Whileunpacking that concept would run the risk of breaching the bounds of this thesis, it is vital tonote because again we see yet another reason why friction would occur between the two con-cepts of transgender and hijra/khawaja sara: already extant knowledge structures on gender,livelihood, respectability, and community access are running up against those that come asbaggage with transgender.Rana’s worry, then, of a loss of knowledge, power, place, an already unique form of re-spectability and status, can also be found in the echoes of some of Nomi’s words; recall, shehoped she would no longer have to dance. Dance, in  Queens,  is at the forefront of the film.Rana’s worries may indeed be grounded in a real loss of income as well as the other lossesmentioned. Let us turn to Khan, who writes of khawaja sara that,... they no longer train as dancers or singers, as many did in earlier years; instead,they often choose to draw upon the sexually suggestive forms of dancing com-monly found in contemporary Pakistani and Indian films. The availability of youngfemale dancers has also impacted khwaja sara age-old badhai dance celebrationsexcept among the lower middle classes, who do not have the means to reward themhandsomely for their performances.[30 C. Pamment, ‘Hijraism: jostling for a thirdspace in Pakistani politics’, The Drama Review, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 29–50.] In recentyears, the celebrations at sufi shrines where they performed have also been restric-117 Dutta and Roy, “Decolonizing Transgender in India: Some Reflections,” 332.118 Reddy, With Respect to Sex, 17–43.42ted by the state, which fears the crowds will invite violence. As khwaja sara find itdifficult to find employment, many have turned to begging at road signals, wherethey  ask  for  money  from  passengers  in  cars  who  are  waiting  for  the  light  tochange.119I must add another twist to this already contorted story. South Asian classical dance has athwarted history in Pakistan. During the reign of Zia-ul-Haq, dance was cast as “un-Islamic”and heavily suppressed.120 Before Zia-ul-Haq, though, dance was vilified by colonial authorities,so this old thread cannot be said to be entirely his idea.121 Even after Zia-ul-Haq,’s death, thisstigma remains to some extent.122 While it  is  seeing somewhat of a revival,  the traditionalmethods of learning it, as Khan notes as well, suffered;123 the revival is currently mainly access-ible to middle and upper-class Pakistanis.124 Thus in an ironic twist, both “khawaja sara” and“transgender” as terms and concepts in Pakistan appeal to Islam, yet so-called “Islamization”and governmental  respectability-via-transgender  cut  off key traditional  avenues of  income,community support,  and recognition along the lines that Nanda outlines for khawaja sara.Rana, then, lives in strange times.Strange times indeed, but not without precedent. In Snorton’s examining of much thesame tension between Jorgensen’s white, all-American, wholesome, transsexual womanhoodand the various foreclosed Black trans lives often “doubled” to her narrative, we find even inthis seeming dead-end, yet another space for the two terms and concepts to speak (remember Ido  not  wish  to  categorize  anything  as  “untranslatable”).  Recall  Carlett  Brown,  mentionedearlier in this thesis. Recall also Valentine, who explores the tension between drag and trans-119 Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan,” 1290.120 Hetland, “Classical Dance – a Lost Art in Pakistan”; Leiby, “Academy Strives to Maintain Classical PakistaniDance Tradition.”121 Walker, India’s Kathak Dance in Historical Perspective, 94–98.122 Hetland, “Classical Dance – a Lost Art in Pakistan”; Leiby, “Academy Strives to Maintain Classical PakistaniDance Tradition.”123 Leiby, “Academy Strives to Maintain Classical Pakistani Dance Tradition.”124 Ibid.; Yasin, “LIVING COLOURS.”43gender,  explored earlier  in this thesis.  If  “transgender” carries a strain of  respectability-be-cause-not-dancing, I argue it did not originate whole-cloth in South Asia. Again viewing racial-ity as well as gender, as this section is titled, finally allows us to see how and why. That is be -cause, as Snorton traces, such dancing and performance was attached to Blackness, excess, andtaboo. It was thus necessarily cast out of Jorgensen’s narrative, until she later re-incorporatedit as a nightclub act, that is, in a far more middle class and whiter context (here echos classicaldance). Dance, then, was used as evidence of “deviantness” in the narratives of the Black translives told as Jorgensen’s “doubles.”125 And recall, as Valentine notes, it was often the Black dragqueens, fem queens, and butch queens who were cast as the most errant in their figurations ofgender.126 That is, dancing and performance as things to be cast (or, perhaps in South Asia,caste) out of a proper, respectable transgender narrative experience a similar deployment inboth cases. When the terms and concepts are mapped onto each other, we see this fallout.Much like Nandini’s dancing ghost who then orders Mukta to dance,127 these deployments arealready forever framed by their own hauntings.3.3 Sexuality, Respectability, Gender, and the NGODance allows us to transition to sexuality.128 To understand the context of  dance inSouth Asia,  and especially Pakistan, we are required to examine sexuality and sex acts. Asnoted before in this thesis, the passage from the Kama Sutra already presents us with a blendedvision of sexuality, gender, and livelihood in the popular South Asian imaginary. When theBritish encountered dance in all its forms in India, they both patronized and condemned it.129125 Snorton, “A Nightmarish Silhoette.”126 Valentine, Imagining Transgender, 99.127 Atkins, Queens!128 All puns intended.129 Walker, India’s Kathak Dance in Historical Perspective, 94–98. “Decadence, corruption and indulgence becamesome of the favourite failings, and the nautch-girls were handy scapegoats on whom to tack these social ills.44As mentioned already, so did some Indian and later Pakistani nation-builders, hence why I ar-gue Zia-ul-Haq’s condemnation of the form, and the effect it had on hijra and khawaja sara,cannot be seen in isolation from the colonial apparatus. Zia-ul-Haq was propped up by the Re-agan administration, which was also more than content to look the other way on his many op -pressive and violent policies, because of the USA’s own imperialist interest in both South Asiaand Central Asia along with the Middle East.130 Again, note here that gender, sexuality, devel-opment, global politics, and the nation-state cannot be easily dis-entangled. What confoundedZia-ul-Haq and his predecessors and condemned dance in the minds and imaginaries of him,British colonists, and early Indian nation-state builders in South Asia was an association withsexuality, excess, taboo, and decadence, along with the fact that dance’s association with wo-men and indeed, to an extant, empowered women, created a sort of doubled nervousness. 131Thus, I do not feel content to consider Zia-ul-Haq’s categorization of dance as “un-Islamic”enough.  That may have been his  scapegoat,  but what is  today known as  “Indian ClassicalDance” to the Indian imaginary cannot merely be said to be some long-standing tradition be-cause,... banning nautch did not call any deep-seated Hindu or Muslim customs or tradi-tions into question. Furthermore, part of the resistance reformers had found to theirattempts to educate girls was a perception that the only type of woman to be edu-cated and literate would be a  ta̤wā’if  [courtesan] or a  devadāsī [temple dancer]132(Oddie 1979: 106–8). The Indian participants in social reform and eventually nation-Victorian morality combined with Edwardian suffrage and feelings of inferiority created an Indian need topurge society of immoral and backward elements (Sundar 1995: 245). Professional women performers wereclear targets.”130 Crile, Charlie Wilson’s War, 463.131 Walker, India’s Kathak Dance in Historical Perspective, 94–98; AFP, “How Facebook Is Killing Lahore’s HeeraMandi.”132 I am greatly oversimplifying my translations here for the sake of space and time. For a fuller exploration ofthese terms and concepts, see, Srinivasan, Doris M. “Royalty’s Courtesans and God’s Mortal Wives: Keepers ofCulture in Precolonial India,” and Maciszewski, Amelia. “Tawa’if,  Tourism and Tales: The Problematics ofTwenty-First-Century Musical Patronage for North India’s Courtesans” both in  Feldman and Gordon,  TheCourtesan’s Arts.45alist politics were on the whole middle- or upper-middle-class men who had beeneducated in Britain. They had no immediate cultural connection to these types ofperformances, which had been patronized by the Indian and Anglo-Indian aristo-cracies, and they had also absorbed a certain amount of Victorian prudery alongwith their education.133This anxiety over sexuality, then, as both a creation of power discourses and its object of con-trol,134 is another driver of what I believe to be part of the reason for popularity of translatinghijra and khawaja sara into transgender. Indeed, the public performances and dance of hijraand khawaja  sara were  extreme anxiety  points  for  colonial  authorities.  As Hinchy writes,“[w]hy then was the public presence of  hijras so troubling to British officials in north India?First, according to colonial officials, the feminine embodiment of hijras was evidence of innatesexual and gendered deviance.... Second, the public performances of hijras evoked a wider setof anxieties that preoccupied British officials following the revolt of 1857, when the British lostcontrol of much of north India.”135 Dance, then, in many ways is excess and loss of control ofthe state laid bare in and on moving bodies of sex/gender others. Recall that this idea is whatallows us to compare Black American trans experiences to South Asian experiences of hijraand khawaja sara. Because of these associations, “[a]t the same time that transgender is legit-imized through the notion of hijra tradition, practices and conceptions of the hijra family arechanging alongside differences in approach to music pedagogy, economy, performance reper-toires, and stagings.”136 Rana’s worries, then, are also likely in response to these shifting timesin regards to sexuality, performance, and livelihood as well.133 Walker, India’s Kathak Dance in Historical Perspective, 95.134 Foucault,  History of Sexuality Vol. 1. Again the very constitution of India-as-foreign-sexual-other occurredwhen, as Foucault outlines, the late Victorian colonial authority was encountering both challenges to binarismand what it saw as “evidence” for the “superiority” of binarism and “Victorian values.” That is, this is a spiralfeedback loop. See particularly pp. 70-73.135 Hinchy, “Obscenity, Moral Contagion and Masculinity,” 279.136 Roy, “Translating Hijra into Transgender: Performance and Pehchān in India’s Trans-Hijra Communities,” 419.46I must finally turn back to “koti” (kothi) and again to Dutta. Dutta examines the deploy-ment and uses of kothi. Ostensibly it is used to mark a category of sexuality, but it is also,much like hijra and khawaja sara, a broad and loose umbrella term that is native to certainparts of South Asia and not others, and not native to West Bengal, the area of Dutta’s research.According to Dutta, its spread is due to many NGOs and through media, as another “nativized”exonymic-endomyic term.137 I  unfortunately cannot delve into too many specifics here,  butwhat strikes me about Dutta’s analysis is an emergence of a divide, between sexualized kothiand gendered hijra.138 And yet hijra and kothi, along with other populations do collude, as Duttanotes, at times, so any easy conclusions about “localities” is far too simple.139 That is,... how both  hijra  and  kothi,  while evidencing distinct histories of construction,emerge as (seemingly) coherent identities through the collusion of multiple subcul-tural140 and governmental processes. An epistemology of these collusions must ne-cessarily bridge multiple sites of enquiry—in the case of hijra, ranging from colonialcensuses and ethnology to contemporary media representations and the kinshipsystem of the gharanas [households], all of which have contributed to consolidatethe identity in official discourses. The kothi, on the other hand, evidences the collu-sion of subcultural networks that are less structured than  gharanas with govern-mental technologies of HIV-AIDS control.141But why is this needed? I argue that this is because if transgender is defined as “not sexuality”than it leaves a vacuum in the South Asian imaginary where these are co-constituted ideas. AsNomi’s quote illustrates, if transgender does allow a sort of respectability to arise because it isnot-dance and not-sexuality, we must then examine that fissure.Let us turn to another quote to understand what is happening here. Barker’s article alsostates that,137 Dutta, “An Epistemology of Collusion.”138 Ibid.139 Ibid.140 Again “sub-cultural” is not quite what I am getting at. These are just as full, rich, and vibrant gender life-worlds as the “dominant” gendered world as this thesis shows.141 Dutta, “An Epistemology of Collusion.”47Nadeem Kashish, a 35-year-old transgender woman running for office in Islamabad,smokes a cigarette on the street below her makeup studio./ Banished from home,she entered the ‘guru’ system, in which an elder khwaja sira houses younger transpeople in return for a cut of their earnings as dancers or sex workers. She wantsthat system abolished, saying it is exploitative./ ‘When you see a transgender per-son, do not give them your notes, give them your votes,’ Kashish advised listenersto her weekly radio show./ The trans community in Pakistan is divided between ayoung, international-leaning cohort who believe gender is fluid, and an older groupwho claim only those born with both female and male genitalia truly qualify.142Note, as Reddy does, that hijra and khawaja sara are well aware of how to work with politicalsystems. For Nadeem, the exploitative system of gurus and chelas with its dancers and sexworkers stands in contrast to respectable democratic state institutions, a thread we have seenassociated with transgender throughout this thesis. The system may very well be exploitativefor some members, I cannot definitely say. What interests me here is again the strategic de -ployment of “progress” and nation building, similar to what this thesis looked at earlier viaSnorton’s work. If associations of sexuality and dance are being cast out of respectability-as-tied-to-nation in a certain cementing of transgender, then I argue again we have seen thisghost before. It haunted Zia-ul-Haq; it haunted the Indian (and later Pakistani) nation-statebuilders. A similar ghost danced in the construction of Christine Jorgensen’s narrative. Thisspectre found itself foreclosing the other ways of knowing gender and of being trans for BlackAmericans at that same time. It is also this colonial ghost, remember, that I believe is part ofthe impetus for the use of khawaja sara in Pakistan. A less anxious term already, it too carriedconnotations of slightly less “sexual deviance,” and slightly more respectability, along with lessharassment from colonial legal authorities. Thus, I argue that the use of the term khawaja sarais strategic in regard to sexuality, and its own fissures as an umbrella term sometimes do lineup with the fissures found in transgender, but because it shifted to address a different group142 Barker, “Once Ostracised, Now Pakistani Transgender People Are Running for Parliament.”48than it did at first, it swept up a whole host of other sexuality and gender anxieties along withit.Thus far I have avoided talking about anybody’s genitals. First, because I really do notbelieve that is the question. Second, because there has been enough such writing and spectaclearound hijra and khawaja sara, and I do not wish to engage with most of the gawking overbody parts that comes to define much discourse around any variety of trans topics. But I willdiscuss the meaning-making implied behind Barker’s un-cited assertion that genital configura-tions are the ultimate arbiter of who “truly qualifies.” Remember the quote from far earlier inthis thesis, that “[t]he British classified the hijra based on three categorizations: first, as natur-ally impotent men; second, as males born with congenital malformation; and third, as artificialeunuchs.” Whether subconsciously or consciously, Barker reproduces this understanding. In-deed, the idea that the “true” hijra or khawaja sara is one that has had their genitals removedalso appears, and it is true that nirvan, or the castration ceremony, is revered, there are manyhijra and khawaja sara who have not had this procedure.143 Whither transgender here, though?It is in numerous places, I argue. First, there is the old trope that the only “true” trans figura-tion is one who has had genital surgery, hormones, and is “verified” by medical institutions.Second, there is the aforementioned binary-and-others figuration that Dutta and Roy pointedout earlier in this thesis. Third, there is the deployment of genital surgery itself in South Asia.As Dutta and Roy write,In this context, the advent of a new discourse of trans womanhood, whether ac-companied by gender affirmation surgery or not, creates new possibilities of per-sonal and social identification, which may have life-affirming implications for somepeople. We do not seek to rehearse the facile critique of transsexuality as conform-ist and reproducing binary gender, as if nontranssexuals do not do so all the time143 Reddy, With Respect to Sex.49(Valentine 2012).  At  the same time,  both of  us  have encountered  gendered andclassed hierarchies between emergent models of trans womanhood and older formsof  feminization  and  gender  liminality.  Given  that  hijra  communities  and  kothiforms of public visibility (such as flamboyance, sex work, and cruising) are often so-cially disreputable and stigmatized, some CBO leaders actively advocate that com-munity members fashion themselves as women rather than  hijra/kothi—to quoteone such person, “the way that you people behave in public, does any woman be-have like that? No wonder you have no respect in society.”144That such figurations  are  found within  hijra  and khawaja  sara  communities  today cannotmerely said to be a natural fact, it owes its presence to colonial legacies and the spectres of re -spectability discussed earlier to at least some degree. That ghost still haunts South Asia. Re-spectability and its associated fallout must be kept at the forefront of thinking around thistopic.To move us forward, take the these lines from Barker’s article, where Barker writesabout Almas Boby, a politically active khawaja sara in Pakistan:Almas Boby, who launched the country’s trans rights movement by storming apolice station in 2004 to call for the arrest of “dirty men”, argued that the law wouldmerely encourage gay men to claim they were transgender in order to claim bene-fits..../ “There were 10,000 khwaja siras counted in the census,” she said, referring tothe official exercise conducted last year, thought by many to have recorded only afraction of the community. “After this there will be millions, billions.”145Boby is a recurrent figure in my research, especially in Khan’s two articles.146 I do not entirelyagree with the way she is cast by Barker. But first, we turn to sexuality. That gay men are to becast out of this imaginary is not all that novel, as this thesis has already discussed, transgenderas a term and concept has its uses for both trans activism and gay/lesbian activism. Also, recalla fissure between sexuality and gender haunted the colonized categories that what into consti-tuting hijra and khawaja sara in the first place. Ironically, the idea of “deviant men” entering144 Dutta and Roy, “Decolonizing Transgender in India: Some Reflections,” 331.145 Barker, “Once Ostracised, Now Pakistani Transgender People Are Running for Parliament.”146 Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan”; Khan, “What Is in a Name?”50spaces not for them is found in the most regressive forms of trans exclusionary “feminism” inthe West. As Valentine notes, the very same separating of gender and sexuality is indeed partof why such “feminists” can even make such a claim.147 And anyway, that part of the quotationis a paraphrase, I cannot know what Boby actually said. It has been filtered through Barker,much like the Kama Sutra through Burton.What I am more concerned with is Bobby’s anxiety over numbers. To get there, a fairerpicture of Boby must be painted. First of all, Khan traces her activism at least as far back as1997, when she attempted to run for office but was disqualified.148 Boby was not also merelyprotesting “dirty men,” she was protesting police brutality,149 something racialized trans peoplein the West are also unfortunately far too familiar with. As Khan writes,... khwaja sara are no longer satisfied by political platitudes. Instead, they want sub-stantive change. Boby refuses to be sensationalized. Instead, she uses the forumoffered by television to seek legal protection from the harassment khwaja sara suf-fer in society, much of which, she claims, stems from police brutality. Demanding astate response to the violence, she produces a file documenting incidents in whichthe police  are  implicated or  are  complicit  bystanders.  She further  points  to  thestate’s unwillingness to catch and punish the perpetrators. Speaking in Urdu with asmattering of English, Boby refuses to be silenced by Sanaullah’s [the talk showhost’s] comments that the ‘state is looking into these incidents’ with the rejoinderthat his remarks do nothing to stop the brutality of violence perpetrated on thebodies of khwaja sara.150This is crucial to note, I believe. Not only does Boby have a long history in dealing with thestate, we cannot ignore the extreme levels of violence and dispossession khawaja sara face. Re-call again Reddy’s observation that hijra are very well aware of the nuances of politics. Boby, Ibelieve, is no different. Thus, we can finally contextualize her words more fully. That Boby wor-ries  new laws around the deployment of  transgender  would permit  gay men to  slide  into147 Valentine, Imagining Transgender, 204–30.148 Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan,” 1297.149 Ibid.150 Ibid., 1299.51khawaja sara structures and that in general it would open the flood gates, so to speak, is muchlike what Rana worried about earlier in this thesis, I believe. Boby is likely well aware of theslippery deployment of the term and concept, and its potential for erasing and eliding her waysof knowing and being in the world. After all, she has long had experience in dealing with plat -itudes from the state. Boby can mobilize her chelas to do work, much like Amma in Queens.151The situation unfolding seems to be,Because of the efforts by many middle-class transgender activists to craft a dis-tinctly respectable show of face, this involves the larger move from the sociallytransgressive mode of hijra toward ... individual empowerment. This results in thetransgendering of the hijra family, and reconfiguring what is thought as musicallabor from service associated with the guru toward what can be seen as the profes-sional employment of the individual and the cultivation of talent.152 Boby, I believe, exposes perhaps the most damning fissure of the deployment of transgender inSouth  Asia:  her  “comments  remind  us  that  changes  in  laws  do  not  always  translate  intochanges at the grassroots level.”153 That is despite all the credit the nation-state puts into shor-ing up a respectable governmental regulation of gender (as not-sexuality), it ultimately  alsoproves that all the excess and taboo it wishes to elide are ever-present and continuing. Here,the echoes of Black American (trans) gender experiences and interactions with the nation-statereverberate, much like Nandini’s ghungroo154 in Queens.155 And yet even still, this is not a com-plete imposition, for as Jeff Roy writes, “we are witnessing the emergence of the individualdefined not by a singular allegiance to a shared doctrine of beliefs but by her own unique con-151 Ibid., 1300.152 Roy, “Translating Hijra into Transgender: Performance and Pehchān in India’s Trans-Hijra Communities,” 426.Roy’s exploration of pehchān is worth a read all on its own.153 Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan,” 1300.154 Ankle bells worn by classical South Asian dancers to emphasize their complex footwork.155 Atkins, Queens!52tributions given to the community/ies where she comes from and in the cultivation of her ownsense of self-worth.”156But even that benefit has its drawbacks.  In the run-up to the passage of Pakistan’stransgender  rights  bill,  the  Pakistan  Senate  passed  the  Transgender  Persons  (Protection  ofRights) Bill, 2017. The NGO, Forum For Dignity Initiatives (FDI), which is focused on “striv[ing]for an equitable society for transgender people, sex workers, and girls and young women,”157investigated the many complaints Pakistan’s khawaja sara and trans communities had aboutthis version of the bill.158 The 2018 bill exists as it does today, with provisions for safe houses,employment, and other deep concerns of these communities, and without such provisions asmedical testing,159 is because, again, of the astute political awareness and campaigns of khawajasara and their activism. However, a key complaint highlighted by FDI’s report is, “STIs, HIVand other medical issues faced by transgender persons should be taken into account.”160 Herewe see how Khan’s observation and Boby’s anxiety can come to the fore. In a law based purelyaround gender and identity, there was no space for STI and HIV issues. After all, these are of -ten issues associated with sexuality, so the fissure between sexuality and gender has this unfor-tunate effect. The law as passed in 2018 does not mention HIV or STIs. It does mention healthand medical treatment around issues of specifically  gendered aspects of dealing with medicalinstitutions, but the key concepts of STIs and HIV remain absent.161Recall Rana, quoted by Azhar? I bring her up again because Khan provides more key in-sights here, now that we have the context of “proper” hijra and khawaja sara and “proper”156 Roy, “Translating Hijra into Transgender: Performance and Pehchān in India’s Trans-Hijra Communities,” 427.157 “About FDI.”158 Ali, “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017 Salient Features, Gaps & Recommendations.”159 Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018.160 Ali, “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017 Salient Features, Gaps & Recommendations,” 11.161 Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, 8.53trans subjects defined by surgery and hormones. Rana and other khawaja sara, like the reportfrom FDI shows, are also well aware of the consequences of that imaginary and thus,Bindiya Rana, President of the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), led protests out-side the Karachi Press Club, which challenged ... hormone testing and its use in theverification process for eunuchs. She noted that ‘no such testing was being askedfor  males  and  females,  instead  their  word  was  enough.  Why  is  our  word  notenough?’.[41 Supreme Court of Pakistan, Constitution Petition No 43 of 2009, p. 2,http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk/web/user_files/file/const.p_43_of_2009.pdf {ac-cessed 8 February 2017}] The activism in Karachi led to the Supreme Court’s diffus-ing what could possibly be a volatile matter, as subsequent Supreme Court direct-ives do not mention the hormonal-testing requirement.162I argue that far from being passive victims of the deployment of transnational logics, NGOsand the government, hijra and khawaja sara are acutely aware of the fissures, breakdowns, andpolitics of the terms and concepts they are working with and resisting simultaneously; they arethus active agents.163 They know of the elisions and deletions they must work with. Of howsexuality and gender are splitting before their eyes and how they were categorized in past colo-nial and post-colonial imaginaries and legal structures to enable this splitting, at least in part;how they must jump on that train. Yet they are also aware that by jumping onto that train,they leave ways of knowing and being behind; that their ways of life are being threatened. Ontop of this, as shown, the long shadow of colonialism means that hijra and khawaja sara rep-resented, in many instances throughout spaces and times in South Asia, excess and boundless-ness. I argue, then, that the incorporation of their narratives into state apparatuses is that sameanxiety but turned back on itself. Rather than suppress, part of the state’s thinking may be: in-corporate, represent, subdue.  It is then, I believe, also a temporal confounding. Time is of theessence in many ways. On the one hand, hijra and khawaja sara cannot afford to be slow be-162 Khan, “Khwaja Sara, Hijra, and the Struggle for Rights in Pakistan,” 1295.163 I say “agents” with all its connections to conceptions of agency and power, because as this thesis has shownhijra and khawaja sara are certainly enmeshed in many webs of power. After all, one only needs agency whendealing with/in the face of power.54cause their community members, however contested that definition of community is, are facingextreme levels of violence. On the other hand, the very fact the deployment of transgender isoccurring at an ever-accelerating pace means that they will lose community members, and yetparadoxically, as Boby worries, gain many more who they will not understand and who in turnmay not integrate with their already extant imaginaries. The present then creates an anxiousfuture,  haunted by a  colonial,  racialized,  caste-ized past.  Unlike Mukta,  for whom Nandinipresented no real threat,164 the spectres facing Rana, Zara, Nadeem, Nomi, Nergis, Boby, andmany others are quite real. This situation, a series of fissures and breakages with many shattered pieces and loosethreads hanging everywhere, also has a precedent elsewhere in our contemporary, feminist,queer, and trans theorizing. As Butler explores in “Against Proper Objects,”In particular, terms such as “race” and “class” are ruled out from having a con-stitutive history in determining the parameters of either field [feminism vs. lesbian/gay studies]. Whether the position is for or against the centrality of gender to sexu-ality, it is gender and sexuality alone that remain the common objects of conten-tion. The presumption is that they can be compared and contrasted, but that thebinary frame presumed and instituted through the analogy is itself self-evidently“proper.”165That “properness,” of sexuality’s and gender’s neat split into two spheres that can intersect,which in the South Asian case are “caste/classless” by virtue of upper-caste association, andtherefore also de-racialized, but that do not co-constitute each other, already had political mo-tivations behind it at the time of Butler’s writing, as she explores. We require a return to Islamto understand a further point here. In characteristic colonial fashion, our quote from Burton’stranslation of the Kama Sutra comes with an acerbic footnote, from the section “Of The Aupar -ishtaka Or Mouth Congress,” he writes,164 Atkins, Queens!165 Butler, “Against Proper Objects: Introduction,” 6–7.55[1] This practice [oral sex] appears to have been prevalent in some parts of Indiafrom a very ancient time. The Shustruta, a work on medicine some two thousandyears old, describes the wounding of the lingam with the teeth as one of the causesof a disease treated upon in that work. Traces of the practice are found as far backas the eighth century, for various kinds of the Auparishtaka are represented in thesculptures of many Shaiva temples at Bhuvaneshwara, near Cuttack, in Orissa, andwhich were built  about that  period.  From these sculptures  being found in suchplaces, it would seem that this practice was popular in that part of the country atthat time. It does not seem to be so prevalent now in Hindustan, its place perhaps isfilled up by the practice of sodomy, introduced since the Mahomedan period.166Here we see a startlingly modern trend in the colonial archive. That is, Hindu nationalism oftenportrays Islam as something that ran roughshod over tradition, and we can see here this pro-cess is colonial in its figuration. But I digress, and save that portion for the implications sectionof this thesis, to be found in the conclusion. What interests me here is the setting up of a non-Muslim-versus-Muslim imaginary where “deviant” sexuality like sodomy comes from Islam.Ironic, then, that “Islamization” in contemporary South Asia era implies a cracking down onsuch sexualities. Or is it? As we have seen, the Indian intellectual adopted the same Victorianprudery of the colonizers who introduced it. In this collection of events, the Indian and, later,Pakistani Muslim with access to veins of state power is re-enacting this footnote, I argue. Justas Zia-ul-Haq unsurprisingly resurrected the ghosts of sexually licentious dancers of the past, Iargue that the “[o]ne reason for the growing acceptance of the trans community springs froman unlikely source - Pakistan’s mullahs”167 actually isn’t all that unlikely. In this after-colonialIslam, which was part of a larger process of “development” where the “modern Islam” did not—could not—include sodomy and other “deviant” sex acts as it once did, as Najmabadi explores, 168166 Mallanāga, The Kama Sutra.167 Barker, “Once Ostracised, Now Pakistani Transgender People Are Running for Parliament.”168 Najmabadi,  Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards, 11–60. Najmabadi looks at Iran, but I find heranalysis of the siren call from colonial modernity to discard “deviant” sexualities and a degendered beautyaesthetic that was decidedly different than anything seen today, to achieve some fabled “modern manhood” tobe useful in understanding some of the sexual lives of an Islamic past and present that again entered the spir -alized feedback loops of the colonial apparatus.56it makes perfect strategic sense that these mullahs, who also work with state power and insti -tutions, would find it amenable to support a “proper” split between gender and sexuality.169“The presumption ... that they can be compared and contrasted” along with “[t]he turnto gender... signals a papering over ... [of the] more fundamental structuring of language, intel-ligibility, and the production of the subject along the axis of a split which also produces the un-conscious.”170 This is again playing out in South Asia to an extant, I argue. As the rise of kothi,and then lately MSM,171 versus hijra and khawaja sara shows, there indeed does seem to besome attempt at making “proper objects” of study. Of course, as already examined in this thesisand in my sources, this is not merely a top-down process. As we noted with Valentine farearlier in this thesis, this division does have strengths, but it leaves many loose threads andways of knowing behind. And much like Reddy, I do not believe it is possible analyze hijra andkhawaja sara as either an example of a group based purely around sexuality nor as a groupbased purely around gender (at least as they are understood in discourse currently).172 As Duttaand Roy note, large pieces of fallout from such a neat split consist of fierce border wars, as thissection examined.173 Recall that Valentine encountered this throughout his research as well. Theghosts of shattered concepts have continued to haunt this fissure. Therefore,  attempting toneatly cleave sexuality and gender leaves behind pieces with sharp edges. Some of them can169 On that note, during the buildup to Partition, many mullahs and maulvis were opposed to the plan, because itthreatened their already extant power networks. In this case, it does seem they have anticipated a shift inpower dynamics and jumped on board.170 Butler, “Against Proper Objects: Introduction,” 16.171 Dutta and Roy, “Decolonizing Transgender in India Some Reflections.”  “MSM” stands for “men who have sexwith men.” That sexuality gets associated with men and masculinity has further uncanny echoes in Butler’s“Against Proper Objects” and Najmabadi’s analysis. I cannot devote much space here, but it is almost an in-version of the earlier logic at play, where masculinized-but-less-sexual gendered others assuaged some colo-nial anxiety. A strange marriage of an old trope, that of the oversexed and dangerous Muslim man, with themodern trope, of an utterly desexualized and sexually frustrated and repressed Muslim man.172 Reddy, With Respect to Sex.173 Dutta and Roy, “Decolonizing Transgender in India: Some Reflections,” 329.57cut through the webs of power and offer key moments of liberation, while others only serve toharm those left to clean them up.4. On TranslationNow that we have unpacked some pitfalls  and engaged some challenges in puttingtransgender into dialogue with hijra and khawaja sara, we return to the questions of transla-tion and comparison themselves. This section does this to both begin wrapping up ideas and tobegin moving forward. “Translation” as used here is a loose term. As Traub writes,The deployment of translation serves as an apt figure for describing the pleasuresand perils involved in the production and reception of this new field of knowledge.Acts of translation require recognition of linguistic, cultural, and temporal differ-ence, while also demanding awareness of multiple fields of reception.... Translationsimultaneously involves contradictory methods and imperatives: fueled by a uto-pian desire for transference of signification across incommensurate linguistic entit-ies, it nonetheless confronts lapses in the seamless conveyance of meaning... trans-lation manages its act of transfer and transmission only by also leaving somethingbehind—meanings “lost in translation,” nuance falling by the wayside.174Yet what Traub calls translation is not what I quite have in mind. For one thing, while thisquote does point out that “translation” serves as a useful metaphor for beginning an analysis, italso posits translation as a process that meets at end points, not the entangling, webby, messyprocesses of constant interactions and (dis)incoporations that I have explored in this thesis.Thus, I must move on from mere “translation” into something else. Something more than twoend points to run between.4.1 Comparing, Contrasting, AskingI begin by asking this: can we compare incomparables? This thesis has attempted to dojust that, by tearing up concepts and seeing if the threads can be woven to each other, even ifonly temporarily. It has also woven together fiction and non-fiction, to enable discussion. In “Is174 Traub, “The Past Is a Foreign Country?,” 30.58the Trans in Transnational the Trans in Transgender?” Berman explores ideas such as the tyingof gender to nation, much as this thesis has, writing that we must, “... recognize that any dis -cussion of transnational or world literature must also attend to the assumptions of embodimentand gender identity that are attached to the concept of the nation.”175 Recall that I used the filmQueens! Destiny of Dance in a similar process. Literature and art, I believe, much like Berman,allow “[c]omparison based in incommensurablity rather than equivalence [which] offers crit-ical vantage points across fields and discourses that can illuminate shared patterns, adjacencies,interconnections, and divergences without erasing the singularity of events, texts, histories, oridentities.”176 To further this form of comparison, I turn to some ideas from Tan.Tan writes that “[a]lthough scholars who work on Asia and those who work on indi-genous studies have both critiqued the epistemic structure of particularizing the non-West andthus supporting the domination of the West, they are hardly in dialogue.” 177 I will attempt someof this here. Discussion of two-spirit peoples would be far beyond the scope of this thesis, but Ibelieve in this section we can take up some of the dialogue Tan envisions. In “Two-Spirit andBisexual People: Different Umbrella, Same Rain,” Robinson explores the implications of foldingtogether bisexual and two-spirit. Robinson also finds that two-spirit envelopes more than justsexuality or gender, indeed it is a co-constitution of both, but it is also spiritual in its figuration,as well as defying these understandings as they are known in Western discourse, much likehijra or khawaja sara.178 Robinson writes, quoting Alex Wilson, that “[c]oming out as LGBT,she explains, ‘is typically a declaration of an independent identity,’ whereas two-spirit identity‘reflects Aboriginal peoples’ process of ‘‘coming in’’ to an empowered identity that integrates175 Berman, “Is the Trans in Transnational the Trans in Transgender?,” 218.176 Ibid., 220.177 Tan, “Beijing Meets Hawai‘i: Reflections on Ku’er, Indigeneity, and Queer Theory,” 139.178 Robinson, “Two-Spirit and Bisexual People.”59their sexuality, culture, gender and all other aspects of who they understand and know them-selves to be’ (p. 197).”179 As such I argue it is indeed possible to put this into dialogue with hijraand khawaja sara ways of knowing themselves, their larger social group, and their society. Op-portunities for translation and dialogue do exist; as Robinson writes, “[t]o use the umbrellametaphor, colonization may be the rain that beats upon both bisexual and two-spirit people,but the deluge hits us to different degrees and we may find that we are under different umbrel -las for very good reasons. Two-spirit identity is an umbrella that Indigenous people have madeourselves, designed for the kind of downpour we have been experiencing since colonialismbegan.”180 I must continue on to other points, but I believe the potential for many essays andconcepts exists in the dialogue between South Asian, Black American, and Indigenous Amer-ican studies with regards to thinking around (trans) gender.Language, sex, and gender are incredibly entangled, as Butler’s  Bodies That Matter ex-plores. It may mostly speak in and around “the West,” but again I argue dialogue and transla-tion can occur, there are no “fundamentally untranslatable” things. So, as Butler writes,If the bounding, forming, and deforming of sexed bodies is animated by a set offounding prohibitions, a set of enforced criteria of intelligibility, then we are notmerely considering how bodies appear from the vantage point of a theoretical posi-tion or epistemic location at a distance from bodies themselves. On the contrary, weare asking how the criteria of intelligible sex operates to constitute a field of bodies,and how precisely we might understand specific criteria to produce the bodies thatthey regulate.181That is, bodies are not a priori to discourse and thus subsequently described by words. Rather,language and the body have a relationship that is inextricable and co-constituted. To put itcrudely, bluntly, and as a pun: words matter. To bring back a quote from Butler used earlier in179 Ibid., 22.180 Ibid., 24.181 Butler, Bodies That Matter, 55.60this thesis, “[t]he turn to gender... signals a papering over ... [of the] more fundamental struc-turing of language, intelligibility, and the production of the subject along the axis of a splitwhich also produces the unconscious.”182So with these ideas in mind, of the fundamental purpose of language, of discourse, oftranslation, of dialogue, of describing-as-creating, of looking-onto-as-making, of measuring-as-creating-a-particle, I turn to uses and metaphors of language itself. I do this because, again,while there may be no easy or direct translations to be found here, I do not take a broad brushand dismiss everything as some sort of “transgender international.” For, as Al-Kassim writes,“[a] critique that is content to halt with a righteous indictment of Orientalism, however justand justified, cannot hope to illuminate the complexity of the deployment of sexuality [and Iargue gender] and falls into the trap of essentializing cultural difference through a prior essen-tialisation of epistemology.”183 I must then modify one of my earlier ideological stances. Whilethere be many local conceptions of gender and transness throughout the world, the borders ofthese regions are not set in stone, but rather they shift and morph right along with the transna-tional forces they must engage with. This is not “the West and the Rest” nor is this a simple taleof “transgender as a term of the colonizer.” Both are over-reductive, in my mind, and both ulti-mately do not capture the situation. Transgender is here to stay in the Subcontinent.To continue this idea of language, hinted at throughout this thesis, I now fold togetheranother idea. Dutta and Roy use the word “idiom” to theorize around gender,184 and at the be-ginning of my drafting process for this thesis I also did. Seeing their use of it thus presents mewith the opportunity to elaborate my conception of much the same. Gender is like an idiom.182 Butler, “Against Proper Objects: Introduction,” 16.183 Al-Kassim, “Epilogue: Sexual Epistemologies, East in West,” 305.184 Dutta and Roy, “Decolonizing Transgender in India: Some Reflections,” 324, 328.61Idioms are, of course, expressions in which the literal meanings of the words together does notconvey the same thing as the expression as a whole. Take for example, “it’s raining cats anddogs.” Literally, such a sentence would be horrifying. However, most native English speakersunderstand that this sentence should be taken to mean “the rain is intense.” Idioms are famousfor being notoriously difficult to translate. To put such an idiom directly into Urdu, for ex-ample, would create a sentence such as “ںی ہ  ےت اج  رگ ےس  نامسآ ے%ت & گ روا ںو)یل+ج ” which literally means“cats and dogs are falling from the sky,” a sentence that would alarm any native speaker. Like-wise, the Urdu idiom, “ر,ج ار,ج  لاد ی0خ رم ی3گ رھ5گ” means something along the lines of “taking some-thing for granted” but its literal translation is something like “house chickens [as] equal to len-tils.” Of course these phrases are not untranslatable, it’s perfectly possible to say “the rain is in -tense” in Hindi-Urdu and to say “taken for granted” in English, but the precise sense and qual-ity of the idioms cannot be conveyed fully with these translations. Likewise, we may never beable  to  convey fully  the  nuances,  histories,  sentiments,  and  embodiments  of  one  culture’sgender systems to another, even in essay-length works such as this, but that does not mean it istotally impossible or un-attemptable. Rather, gender, much like idiom, is dependent on place,culture, time, people, ideas, and many other such subtleties that indicate various ideas, qualit-ies, nuances, and concepts of the people that live it. Sometimes we may need to make swift,word-for-word transcriptions in our fights for liberation, sometimes we may take the time tounpack the idiom and examine the cultural forces that lead to it, all the while knowing that ex-amining any one portion individually would render it far less meaningful, so we should make62sure to keep its whole in view the entire time. This also affords cultures all of their rich nuancearound gender without having to rely on tropes such as “cross cultural universal” or “directly(un)translatable” and avoids the pitfalls of walling off theoretical gardens as well. Avoiding the-oretical fiefdoms is key, for khawaja sara and hijra do not just break down barriers betweenidentity, expression, and behaviour, they also break down neat distinctions between gender andsexuality, perhaps one of the most critical and yet contentious points of both modern queerand trans theory as thesis explored.Yet I eventually found “idiom” to be too limiting, so I now weave together the threads oflanguage as a constitutive force of gender, à la Butler,185 “trans-linguistic practice” from Tan,186and use metaphors from linguistics to shape another argument. In language, each of us has ourown idiolect,187 the words, phrases, and constructions unique to ourselves but that also comefrom our larger context. We enter these into broader dialects, the words of others with whomwe share a mutual intelligibility, such as the “Bazaar Hindi-Urdu” of the everyday north Indianand Pakistani. Some dialects are more mutually intelligible with our own, some are less. A cer-tain configuration of one dialect becomes a prestige dialect, considered to be “proper,” usuallyit becomes prescriptively taught in elementary schools and often is the form held up by “gram-marians” as “correct.” Along with that idea comes language. As the popular phrase goes, “a lan-guage is a dialect with an army and navy,” or that is, power. Take, for example, Hindi and Urdu,as their statuses in South Asia show, languages like them often cover larger regions and havestrong political implications. Some languages, through certain webs of power and exchange be-come global lingua francas, and travel the world, like English. Sometimes two dialects meet185 Butler, Bodies That Matter.186 Tan, “Beijing Meets Hawai‘i: Reflections on Ku’er, Indigeneity, and Queer Theory.”187 Not to be confused with idiom nor idiomatic. Idiolects are the unique ways of speaking an individual has thatare both a product of their own making and a product of the context in which they speak.63and develop pidgins and later creoles. I present all of this because I believe a way forward is toconsider this figuration: gender as idiolect that enters into conversations with dialects. Certainunderstandings of gender become prestige dialects and get held up as “proper,” and some evengain the figurations of power and context to be considered “languages” across broader regions,such as in South Asia with the spread of hijra and khawaja sara. Transgender, then, positionsitself as a lingua franca, and much like a lingua franca it both facilitates some understandingsand forecloses others. In analyzing genders and trans configurations around the world, I pro-pose a way forward is to keep this metaphor in mind. At times the lingua franca is powerfuland necessary. At other times it may be needed for two dialects to meet and form genderpidgins188 and creoles.189 At all levels it is important to keep in mind power and context. Some-times, in my linguistics hobbyist circles, we come across yet another sentiment that a “global”or “world” language would solve the world’s communication problems. Yet, as we explain tothe people who hold this utopic vision, this approach has serious drawbacks. One, this visionerases the various local ways of knowing culture, place, context, and history that the world’slanguages contain. That there are efforts to preserve dying languages speaks to their import-ance.190 Two, colonialism is inseparable from such imaginaries, because the languages that aredying are indeed those most at risk from the forces of global imperialism, world capital, andextraction economies. Three, it would be a futile effort. Languages evolve and change. And thusthe next part of my metaphor. We should always keep in mind that the analysis of gender isnot the analysis of a static object. Rather, as I have attempted to show in this thesis and as my188 Formed when one language contacts another usually in a context of trade, border zones, colonization, or othersuch circumstances. 189 When a pidgin is nativized and becomes the language of the descendants of the original speakers of the previ -ous pidgin.190 “Endangered Languages Project.”64sources have also done, it morphs, evolves, and takes on new forms, just like language in thisextended metaphor. It may be tempting to cast indigenous and non-Western ways of knowinggender as “the past as a foreign country,” but that is just as harmful as broad, sweeping, easytranslations.  As examined in this thesis,  hijra and khawaja sara are politically and sociallyaware of their context. To rob them of the chance to evolve their understandings on their ownterms would also be yet another colonial deployment. We cannot, however, ignore where, how,and why the forces that ultimately compel this complex local-international evolution comefrom. Now, I turn to the final part of this metaphor. Language plays such a large part in genderand in my metaphor,  yet I  ultimately believe gender vanishes before we can reach it  withwords. We can tread ever closer, but ultimately it slips our grasp, and becomes something onlyunderstood as a complex mix of bodily experience, social context, political forces, national andinternational configurations, history, sexuality, race, class, caste, and the myriad of other forcesthat go into creating “us” and “I.”1914.2 This Thesis is Disappearing as it is Being WrittenBut translation and temporality must ultimately meet.  The threads of “progress” and“development” we saw throughout this thesis leads me to ask what it means to write about amoment that is essentially vanishing as it is occurring, much like the act of preserving lan -guages as they are disappearing. That is, transgender is likely to continue to unfold across thesubcontinent. Temporality confounds this thesis even as it attempts to become something rel -evant both immediately and in the future. Some ideas discussed in this thesis are likely alreadyfading out of existence while others are coming to light. What does it mean to write about191 Actually, pick out any one of these concepts and I would argue much the same.65trans politics and representation in such a context? Indeed, as explored earlier in this thesis,hijra and khawaja sara are also well aware of the problems that time presents.A notable example of temporality tempts us in the subtitle of Spivak’s A Critique ofPostcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present. Is writing about gender and transfigurations throughout the world a “vanishing present”? To an extant, I would argue yes. But itis not a hopeless situation. First, I turn to A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, where Spivak writesof vanishing.192 Much like the spectres and ghosts that haunt discourse around the topics thisthesis examined earlier, nothing ever truly vanishes I argue. Recall that in the last section Imade it clear that language evolves. Language thus has etymology, and using our metaphor, sodo gender and sexuality. Even if we are writing about rapidly shifting contexts and terms, theyleave  traces,  their  metaphorical  etymologies  do  not  die.  Indeed,  like  the  terms  hijra  andkhawaja sara themselves, these etymologies may very well be called upon again some day inthe future.Plus, I argue that  not working with this evolution would also be a disservice. As Al-Kassim notes,  any too-easy call  to Orientalism or  colonialism risks making stuck subjects.Stuck in time, stuck in the mud of nation-states, ever out of reach. Again, nothing is “totallyuntranslatable.” That is, “[t]he past can feel like a place as much as it does a time—a foreignplace, outside the doors of the familiar, beyond the gate and the gatekeepers of now.[1 Cather-ine Brown, “In the Middle,”  Journal of  Medieval and Early Modern Studies 30,  no.  3 (2000):547n.]”193 I argue we run the risk of turning other countries into the “past,” a form of colonial -ism itself, to justify “progress” and “development” precisely if we do not write about things that192 Spivak,  A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, x. “The latter position, a ‘moving base’ that I stand on as the textseeks to catch the vanishing present....”193 Traub, “The Past Is a Foreign Country?,” 1.66are vanishing. Recall earlier in this thesis my findings that hijra and khawaja sara are indeedfully capable agents well aware of the weight of history, the long shadows of the colonial insti-tutions, the current politics that they must deal with, and the problem of a rapidly-changingpresent. To keep up with the at times lightning speed of changes is a necessary part of writingabout disappearances, but it is also a writing about new understandings, (re)volutions, and fu-tures, that is, of possibilities.Time is not merely one-dimensional, however. As Hossain writes, in “De-IndianizingHijra,”... the project  of  a unified South Asianist  imaginary risks  reifying not  only theconcept of South Asia as a region but also intraregional similitude and disjuncture.Perhaps one way to evade such reification is to bring into view the sharp intrare-gional asymmetries not only across the subregional scales but also within the na-tional spatialities. At the discursive level such a coalitional South Asian queer ima-ginary can be conceived by taking into account the multiple trajectories throughwhich nonnormative sex/gender subjects have emerged within various South Asianregions. Such a project should begin with the acknowledgment that South Asia isnot reducible to India and that nonnormative sex/gender subjects within differentnations emerge in intricate interaction with the intra/transregional symbolic andmaterial flows.194This applies, in my view, to both space and time (they are co-constituted in relativity, after all).Thus, this thesis has drawn examples from primarily Pakistan for this reason, as well as myown familiarity with some of the area studies needed. Recall that in this thesis we found somany of even the “native sounding” terms were also made into umbrellas, subject to regionalforces that found echoes in international forces. I argue that we must keep in mind a SouthAsia that is tied to spacetime. What trajectories do terms take in places and in times? Why isthis important? Let us finally look at the court case mentioned in the introduction. We nowhave enough context, I believe, to at least begin unpacking some ideas.194 Hossain, “De-Indianizing Hijra Intraregional Effacements and Inequalities in South Asian Queer Space,” 329.67Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India was presented as a decidedly “decolonial”victory by many news sources and opinion pieces.195 But the court case itself is more complexthan that. This is not a spacetime, I believe, that truly captures the nuances of what happened.Much like Pakistan and India’s transgender rights bills, the colony lives even in a situationwhere it purportedly finally vanishes. A strange etymology lingers. For example, the trial citesGerman writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in its very first line, and British philosopher JohnStuart Mill as part of the next few, to contextualize concepts of individuality.196 A whole list ofother prominent Western figures follows: Shakespeare, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Su-preme Court of the United States, and many other such examples.197 Clearly the participantshere, too, are well aware of time and space, of a calling upon modernity and a “now” to win im-portant legal victories. What strikes me is that while this case does cite some examples and his-tories of sexuality in India, and unpacks the roots of Section 377 as colonial, it also devotesheavy weight to unpacking English law and the colonial legal system, and to citing Americanand European examples, such as Oscar Wilde. It does this, critically, to show how the workingsin “the West” came to influence India, the creation of Section 377, and its current society andlaws. As this thesis examined earlier, to win legal victories in South Asia, sometimes one has tobe very well aware of the colony; it is, after all, their institutions left behind that South Asiaworks with, as the arguments seen in the court case show. The ruling also cites hijra, gender,and attempts to reinforce gender-binarism as examples of why sexuality is regulated,198 a verynuanced move because as this thesis examined just such a split was used to buttress either195 Dudney, “In Affirming LGBTQ Rights, the India Supreme Court Struck a Blow Against Colonialism”; Dhillion,“In Finally Accepting Homosexuality, India Will Return to Its Roots”; Ahmed, “The British Empire’s Homo-phobic Legacy Could Finally Be Overturned in India.”196 Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India thr. Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice at 3.197 Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India thr. Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice.198 Ibid., 8, 90, 206, 209–11, 287.68concept. Yet the news coverage and opinion pieces frame this as “India ... Return[ing] to itsRoots.”199 Meanwhile, Pakistan is a “conservative Muslim nation” whose hard-won transgenderrights bill “does not address the rights of gays and lesbians.”200 These headlines and articles sim-plify a far more nuanced picture. Namely the use of modern terms and concepts such as gay,lesbian, LGBT, and transgender shows that the ruling parties and India at large have indeedbeen altered by contact with terms and concepts from “the West” and as such we cannot neatlypaint this as a “return to roots.” And while the overturning of a colonial-era law is welcome,Johar v. Union of India  complicates calls of “decolonization” that assume a total removal or dis-avowal of colonial or “Western” ideas, or a return to a time “before the colonizer,” because in-deed the court case cites colonial discourses and “Western” ideas heavily to make some vitalpoints. As such, we can see that South Asia is not free from the temporality and geologies con-stituted in the larger discourses of the “war on terror,” Hindu and Islamic nationalism, andqueer and trans theorizing. As I have said throughout this thesis, nothing is simple, we arelooking at spiralling feedback loops and strange mappings and meshings of power. That is,“[i]n relation to hijra supranationality and the constant comings and goings that mark hijrasubjectivities, it is important to recognize sub/intra/interregional variations and inequalities.”201If we are to consider more deeply the other briefly mentioned sexuality/gender configurationsmentioned in the thesis, such as kothi, and the many others, we cannot afford not to keep thespacetime(s) of South Asia in mind. After all, in using the entangled, nuanced workings of law199 Dhillion, “In Finally Accepting Homosexuality, India Will Return to Its Roots.”200 Mosbergen, “Pakistan May Soon Put The U.S. To Shame On Transgender Rights”; Ingber, “Pakistan Passes His-toric Transgender Rights Bill.”201 Hossain, “De-Indianizing Hijra Intraregional Effacements and Inequalities in South Asian Queer Space,” 327.69and society, gender and sexuality to our advantage, we can win important legal victories suchas Johar v. Union of India and the workings of India’s activists around Section 377 show.202That attention to temporality, context, time, and place not only allows deeper insightinto South Asia, however. Before we must conclude, I bring up one more point for future po-tential generative discussion. In “(Re)making sex: A praxiography of the gender clinic,” Lathamexplores how sex is continually (re)made in the context of the gender clinic.203 Latham’s workshows, in my mind, that the very fissures and breakages apparent in transgender that becameclear to me when looking at South Asia are also seen by those of us in the West when cominginto contact with medical institutions and regulatory discourses. And as Valentine noted, theywere also seen and experienced during its more formative years. Thus, I agree with Snortonthat, “[t]here is a growing consensus in transgender studies that trans embodiment is not ex-clusively, or even primarily, a matter of the materiality of the body.”204 Furthermore, the topic oflanguage, community, and identity are also being examined in the popular press. Take, for ex-ample,  “Why I’m Nonbinary But Don’t  Use ‘They/Them’” by Black writer Ashleigh Shack-elford.205 Schackelford’s explorations of the concepts of history, selfhood, Blackness, and iden-tity also show alternative imaginaries that are possible when we approach trans topics with aneye on topics such as raciality, time, place, caste, and history. I believe that comparing incom-parables, treating gender as metaphorically linguistic, while always keeping in mind time andplace, raciality and history, will allow for generative potential for trans people in the West aswell, not just in South Asia, and perhaps in the world. It would be a collective liberation.202 For a fuller examination of the nuanced strategies of resistance to Section 377, see Puri, Sexual States.203 Latham, “(Re)Making Sex.”204 Snorton, Black on Both Sides, 182.205 Shackelford, “Why I’m Nonbinary But Don’t Use ‘They/Them.’”705. ConclusionI can finally address what is probably the last lingering main question: what now? Inthis thesis I had hoped to go beyond Chatterjee’s “reflexive questioning,”206 and make claims,much like Dutta and Roy. Making claims is risky. It does make me anxious. But language, as ex-plored throughout this thesis, is vital to gender, as is translation and its associated aspects. Somuch so that we as humanities scholars cannot ignore the implications of our words. The med-ical studies and popular press articles mentioned toward the beginning of this thesis deployterms and concepts birthed in and around academia. To claim we are merely writing and thushave no impact on the places we research flies in the face of all relevant evidence. For example,in “Why terms like ‘transgender’ don’t work for India’s ‘third-gender’ communities,” Bearakwrites, “[t]hat is partly why the term ‘transgender’ is seldom used in the Indian context. In In-dian legalese, the term most commonly employed is ‘third gender’—as when, two Aprils ago,India's ‘third gender’ was acknowledged by the country's Supreme Court.”207 As this thesis hasexamined, “transgender” is indeed used by India’s legal system, as the 2016 bill shows. WhileBearak makes a valiant effort, the very words that are deployed in the article are yet again theones problematized in this thesis.Beyond the popular press, there are implications for medical research and aid organiza-tions. As examined earlier in this thesis, a neat divide between sexuality and gender does notadequately address the needs of sexuality/gender communities in South Asia. A methodologythat approaches South Asia with the idea that HIV research, for example, must focus on spe-cific quantifiable sexuality groups would miss large portion of the populations that need suchoutreach. On the other hand, assuming that (trans) gendered populations need only medical206 Chatterjee, “Transgender Shifts: Notes on Resignification of Gender and Sexuality in India,” 318.207 Bearak, “Why Terms like ‘Transgender’ Don’t Work for India’s ‘Third-Gender’ Communities.”71treatments for gender identity related aspects is a double elision. One, it assumes that gender isthe same as (self) identity in South Asia, which, as this thesis explored, is far a more complic-ated topic than it  seems.  Two, this approach assumes the only medical  problems faced bygender diverse populations are those related to their gender, without considering the co-consti-tution of gender, sexuality, caste, class, and the myriad other factors facing these communities.Theorizing that keeps in mind the strong lifeworlds and messy entanglements that went intocreating terms and concepts such as hijra, khawaja sara, and transgender must go beyond ac -knowledging that hijra and khawaja sara lie at intersections. It must also examine the roadsthat led them to that intersection, and the contacts,  accidents,  pushes and pulls along thatroute, and indeed how those routes are already entangled within each other.Additionally, I am writing this thesis during the rise of Hindu and Islamic nationalisms,global fascisms, and ever-constricting popular discourses of gender and sexuality, including inthe self-professed “liberal democracies” of the West. It may seem, then, that this thesis wouldbest be reserved for a more neoliberal world, where the nuances it examines are in wider relayswith states and global bodies. But I argue that it is precisely now that we need such research.For such nuances indeed still are in play within such relays, even if that relay is a shuttingdown. This thesis cannot follow all the rabbit holes it has opened up and peered into. Part andparcel of nationalisms and fascisms across the world and throughout history are patterns ofshutdowns, in which definitions are taken as concrete realities that are static. Such regimesthrive when discourse stops and no new ideas are given space to grow. An urgent example isthe United States, where the Trump administration is well aware of this, as during the time ofmy writing this thesis, the administration is trying to define trans people out of existence.208208 Green, Benner, and Pear, “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration”;Ariane and Cohen, “Supreme Court Allows Transgender Military Ban to Go into Effect.”72Fascists, racists, regressive transphobic “feminists,” all of these groups are well aware ofthe power of words. If we hope to defeat them, if we hope to have any possibility to experiencemultiple ways of knowing gender, of knowing transness, then I argue we cannot stop writingresearch like this. We must write ourselves into history, into that etymological trace that car-ries our narratives. In doing so, we may just win.6. Epilogue: Dialogues and Diasporas 6.1 India After Section 377’s RepealAs this thesis was in the process of revision and comment, India introduced a series oflegislative measures that attempt to define the discourse around hijra, khawaja sara, and transpeople within its borders.209 Much like my fears at the end of the thesis, these measures areaimed at using medicalization, governmental respectability, and state apparatuses to controlthe lives and realities of the various gender groups discussed within this thesis. The stakescould not be higher. What strikes me about these legislative attempts is the very foreclosing ofgender lifeworlds down into government approved, medically stamped legitimacy. Unlike fas-cisms of the past that wish to totally destroy generative gender imaginaries and their long tra-jectories of existence, these measures focus on a vice-grip retention of narrative. It is not “thereare no trans people here” it is “we only have the ‘right’ kinds of trans people.” The mandates in-clude  medical  screenings,  limiting and grossly inaccurate  definitions  of  who is  and is  not“trans” according to its criteria, extreme serophobia, and a litany of other problematic meas-ures. How could a country that recently removed sodomy laws, indeed removed them as a res-ult of court arguments citing hijra and the harm of binarist assumptions around gender, also be209 Dharmadhikari and Gopinathan, “‘Equal to Killing Us’”; Smith, “India: Trans Demonstrators Protest Trans-gender Persons Bill - PinkNews · PinkNews”; Allen, “India Is on the Verge of Passing a Draconian Anti-Trans-gender Bill”; Brandt and Anasuya, “Eighteen Reasons Why.”73the one that introduces such violent legislation? How is it so uncaring and unaware of thegender lifeworlds within its own borders? And what do we make of the diasporic concernsthese issues raise for South Asians in the rest of the world?These situations, I believe, are part of the problem of too easily and uncritically employ-ing blanket  terms such  as  transgender  to  South  Asia’s  long-existing  systems of  sexuality/gender. It is a spacetime too concerned with governmental respectability and paper rights. Asthe many hijra and khawaja sara I cited in my thesis stated and enacted, interactions with gov-ernments must be carefully calculated and ever-aware of the colonial discourses that persist tothis day in South Asia. Much like the “Islamicized” governmentality in Pakistan, India’s currentHindu Nationalist  governing elite are well aware of the power of discourse and definition.Foreclosing gendered spaces of living is the very dangerous fallout of any too easy split ofgender, sexuality, caste, and class in South Asia. These dangerous legislative measures are part of the reason why I believe we as schol-ars must develop tools, language, and discourse that go beyond “transgender is a colonial im-position” and “transgender is an ever expanding umbrella” because neither approach can ad-equately address what is happening in India and South Asia and the rest of the world. It is partof the reason why I believe “idiomatic” is ultimately too limited to work as tool in this complexinteraction of gendered existences. To these points, the government could very well respond“of course it isn’t oppressive we have had trans people here and it is up to India to define them”which they very well are doing, but not in any way that engages the various gender groupswithin its  jurisdiction, but yet still  draws upon the  very same  legitimizing-yet-limiting dis-courses found in “the West” such as the binarist transmedicalism found by Latham 210 and Dutta210 Latham, “(Re)Making Sex.”74and Roy’s211 point that trans often encompasses a binary and a set of further-othered groups.What a mess.  And not a mess that “transgender is  an ever unfolding umbrella” can cover,either, because the bill is decidedly  limiting,  not expansive, while deploying these terms andconcepts.So what set of tools and discourses could we develop? What would account for theunique lifeworlds of gender systems not just in India and South Asia but in places all over theworld? What theoretical framework breaks past the sticky sludge of this murky place? Howcan we be true to the ever shifting, constant re-figurings found in gender lifeworlds such ashijra and khawaja sara without reducing them to any set of essential characteristics, withoutreproducing the colonial impetus to categorize, label, essentialize? How can we also avoid thetemptation to freeze them under glass, to deny the chance for dialogue altogether because dia-logue inevitably means change? I am not sure. I have no definite answer. But what I proposebelow are some approaches, thought experiments, and imaginaries that hopefully will serve asa starting point to be critiqued over and over again and evolve into a working set of theoreticalapproaches.6.2 Gender Pidgins, Gender CreolesIn the conclusion of my thesis I began with the idea of language as a possible staringpoint. Translation did not quite capture what I want here, but it served as a working beginning.As we have seen, the uptake and dissemination of terms in South Asia and likely elsewhere inthe world cannot be said to be directional. Not only do hijra and khawaja sara actively workwith the own etymologies of the words that define their existence, they follow the shifts andflows of the external words that do as well, and sometimes these forces are useful for them to211 Dutta and Roy, “Decolonizing Transgender in India: Some Reflections.”75harness. Again, remember why in Pakistan we find khawaja sara as opposed to hijra in the firstplace. If languages exist as long streams with their own histories and their own internal forces,they also exist as streams in the presence of other streams and rivers. Sometimes, they mergeand flow into each other. At other times canals come to be built between them, sometimes byforce in the case of colonial contact. Some of these canals are murky, such as the one betweentransgender and khawaja sara, this canal cannot be said to flow entirely in one direction, nev-ertheless a power dynamic does push it along at times. But still the waters are too murky todredge up a theoretical framework from this metaphor. If a ghost danced between Nandini and Mukta,212 and her ghungroo could still be heardall throughout, then what about haunting? If something lingers, flows underneath, alongside,sometimes  within,  dominant  gendered  narratives  and it  carries  the  lived  realities  of  othergendered experiences, could it be a theoretical framework that is less concerned with “accuratetranslations” or “sufficiently expansive umbrellas” and one that is more concerned with tracingthe trajectories of these experiences and lifeworlds is one that would offer a way forward?For that, I turn to metaphors of language and gender again. In my original concludingthoughts I briefly mentioned “gender pidgins and creoles.” I wish to take up these ideas morethoroughly to offer what I believe could work as a functional response to the questions raisedin this thesis. Furthermore, after unpacking this idea, I will then apply it to diasporic concernsbriefly as well. A pidgin is a language that develops when two languages previously not in con-tact  meet,  such  as  Hawaiian Pidgin,  Basque-Icelandic  Pidgin,  Chinese  Pidgin  English,  andmany other examples. They develop in many circumstances, but what is particularly relevantto our concerns here are pidgins that develop because of colonial contact. In situations where212 Atkins, Queens!76pidgins develop, there is usually a “dominant” language that exerts a stronger influence. (Thatis, compare translating hijra into transgender versus translating transgender into hijra. For ex-ample, the tensions found in “American hijras” versus “Indian transgender people.”) For ourmetaphor, the “dominant” position can be taken to be the term and concept of transgender.When it meets other gender lifeworlds, such as hijra and khawaja sara, it has a stronger influ-ence. Nevertheless, in pidgins and in our metaphor as well, the other language in this situationof contact still exists and exerts its own influence. Pidgins facilitate communication and inter-actions,  but,  especially  in situations of  colonial  contact,  they also  contain and display  theunique configurations and flows that led to their development. Pidgins are at once products ofand showcases for these forms of contact. But pidgins, while providing a useful starting point,do not quite capture what I have to say.Because pidgins can do something remarkable. They can become nativized as the pre-dominant language in use in a certain area. The results are creoles. Haitian Creole, Tok Pisin,and Louisiana Creole are some notable examples. A pidgin often becomes a creole (though notalways) by becoming the native language of people and developing its own evolutions and con-figurations. In the increasingly entangled world which we write about as humanities scholars,cultural pidgins and creoles, I believe, are likely developing all the time. In the case of hijra andkhawaja sara, for example, we seem to be currently in the pidgin phase of this contact: a ratherrapid rise  in contact  and exchange between transgender  and hijra  and khawaja sara.  Thismeans that pidgin-like exchanges are occurring. Recall the repeated uses of “transgenders” inSouth Asia as a stand-in for the plural “ ںؤارس هج اوخ ” I discussed earlier. Using a metaphor of apidgin allows us to unpack the flows, deployments, and entanglements occurring currently. But77I believe this situation will not, and ultimately cannot, remain under the metaphor of pidgin.Hijra and khawaja sara as terms and concepts will become creolized. They will not be the sameafter their contact with transgender. And the pidgin developing currently will inevitably be-come at least somewhat nativized and part of the newly emerging lifeworlds for these terms.Furthermore, transgender will not be the same afterword213 either. As a term and concept thatclaims to be an ever-expanding umbrella, it too will shift and morph as more contact along thelines explored in this thesis occurs. Thus, I believe future scholars theorizing around these is-sues must consider that they are likely looking at gender pidgins and creoles, and be cognizantof what that means to their analysis. These configurations, as mentioned, allow for vital com-munication between groups, terms, and concepts. But they also contain entanglements, power,colonialism, and the myriad other factors at play that led to their development and continue toinfluence their evolution. And, vitally, both pidgins and creoles do not function as pure vectorsin my metaphor here. The threads of the previous languages, terms, and concepts can also beanalyzed, just as the native languages of people existed before the contact that led to the for-mation of pidgins and creoles. Thus, while there may be a “dominant” in this contact, it is notthe only presence in this entangled realm.This, I believe, also allows us to begin addressing diasporic concerns. In my brief per-sonal experiences with my fellow queer and trans South Asian diasporic people, I have encoun-tered many ways at handling the problems of queer- and transphobia we deal with. On the onehand, we may insist that “India has always had transgender people” which glosses over thevery complex issues I raised in this thesis. On the other hand the assertion “hijra and khawajasara are not transgender!” shuts down any opportunity for dialogue. As interlopers in these213 Pun intended.78processes  that  create  pidgins  and  creoles,  diasporic  communities,  I  believe,  are  actuallyuniquely positioned to break through these stalled conversations. By exploring deeply the pro-cesses that led to the current entanglements for various gender groups around the world, be ithijra, khawaja sara, or others, we as diasporic peoples can also make more nuanced, detailedand effective responses to the phobias we see both from our own communities, and from thelargely white, cis, heterosexual structures we interact with. In her similar explorations of therelationships between the diasporic and Subcontinental, Gayatri Gopinath writes,  “[i]t is ...from the vantage point of a queer diasporic present that we can place multiple geographic lo-cations within a shared conceptual space.”214 That is, queer and trans diasporic South Asians areuniquely positioned to affect the other thread in pidgin and creole creations. That is, the threadof what happens to transgender “over here.” Rather than easily translating hijra and khawajasara to use as “evidence” of the “naturalness” of our self-understandings and fights for ourrights, and rather than insist that no dialogue can take place, we can instead fight so that theever-expanding umbrella of transgender is not content with merely covering us under binarytransgender or non-binary/genderqueer/genderfluid etc. Rather than being yet another tacked-on term, understanding the pidgin and creole statuses of the various indigenous ways of know-ing gender and sexuality around the world allows them to be afforded the due nuances and en-tanglements that are owed to them, and this process can help us to tackle issues in “the West”as well. For example, rather than claim “India has always had transgender people so thereforeDesi parents, teachers, etc. should accept us,” we could argue “because of colonial contact andmessy realities, diasporic parents, teachers, etc. may not be aware of the very lived realities ofthese gender/sexuality systems nor can we simply claim transgender. Because, what they  do214 Gopinath, “Who’s Your Daddy? Queer Diasporic Framings of the Region,” 294.79know about gender/sexuality may not easily line up with that term and concept.” In this con-figuration, we acknowledge the pidgin- and creole-like realities of South Asia and the limita-tions of transgender in “the West.” Plus, this approach gives space for diasporic communities toheal and understand the strange flows, entanglements, and forces that got us here. Further-more, rather than fighting for state rights, which as shown in this thesis are volatile, easily re-voked, and often ineffective at ground-level, diasporic communities may very well benefit frompushing for transgender as a term and concept to undergo similar processes that pidgins andcreoles undergo and that terms and concepts such as hijra and khawaja sara are undergoing.Perhaps we could be like Zara, and demand Xs for our ID cards (which is occurring in someplaces in “the West”) while also demanding to be seen as unique configurations and imaginar-ies of gender/sexuality that are continually influenced by their pasts and are evolving now. Liv-ing embodied creoles of concepts and terms. Understanding, like hijra and khawaja sara do,that state rights and recognition matter,  but that without the strong communities and life-worlds we have built for ourselves, such individualist deployments may not ultimately help us.Plus, by doing so, I believe we could also make more effective calls for change in our respectiveoriginating places. For example, rather than call India merely transphobic, we could cut at thecurrent Hindu Nationalist government, its oppressive ideologies, and its regulatory efforts bypointing out such gender normative regulatory ideas are actually anti-Hindu and deeply colo-nial. But they are also anti-Muslim, for as we have seen in this thesis hijra and khawaja sarahave a unique, nuanced relationship with Islam. Such a call puts the state in a strange, uncom-fortable position. It requires a knowledge of the spacetimes and entanglements of historical In-dia, modern India, and the West, something diasporic people are uniquely positioned to do.And, it avoids making the struggle all about us, because we still afford the space and potential80for hijra and khawaja sara in South Asia to evolve and shift their understandings on their ownterms if we remember the processes of pidgins and creoles occurring. Rather than speak ontheir behalf, we can speak on the strange logics of the state. And indeed, as the arguments inJohar v. Union of India show us, these can be quite powerful tools. These won’t be easy orclean-cut processes. 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