Indian culture has long recognized the fluidity of gender, with a number of demigods in Hindu scripture described as being a third gender. Yet, homesexuality remains illegal in India, and hijras are often forced to live underground, being ostracized by their family and friends. Because of this, India’s hijra community maintains a hierarchical, somewhat secretive subculture.
As a photographer focused on gender issues and underrepresented voices, I have held a long curiosity and fascination of hijras. When I moved to the city of Mumbai in September 2017, I began making portraits and spending time with a community of hijras near my home. They lived behind the train station in a settlement as a family; packed in small, immaculately organized rooms, one stacked on top of another. I would drop in often, drink tea, and just observe. They opened up a beautiful, unique, and fascinating world to me. These images are for them.