Slideshow: India’s transgender ‘hijra’ meet to push for rights beyond recognition · July 10, 2015 All photos by Jasvinder Sehgal. Read/hear his accompanying report. Click on any thumbnail image to launch slideshow. India is among the few countries in the world to legally recognize a third gender. India’s first-ever transgender census found 490 thousand hijra in the country, but experts say the figure is likely much higher. Transgender people in India often face discrimination in employment opportunities. Indian hijra are pushing for legislation to establish affirmative action mechanisms in education, employment, financial aid and social inclusion for transgender. The affirmative action bill is the first private member’s bill to get the approval of India’s upper house of Parliament in the last 45 years. The bill is pending in the lower house. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a noted Hindi film actress is the first transgender to represent Asia Pacific in the United Nations. India’s Supreme Court ordered the recognition of a third gender in 2014, but proportional access and representation in education and jobs continues to be a challenge. While India recognizes a third gender, it continues to maintain sodomy laws on the books which criminalize gay sex. Unlike many parents of transgender persons in India, transgender activist Abeen Ahar’s parents accept her third gender identity. “Hijra Habba” is an annual gathering of India’s transgender community to consolidate an action plan for transgender welfare nationwide. A focus of this year’s gathering was how to extend legislative protections against harassment and discrimination to India’s officially-recognized transgender population. Tamanna is a hijra from southern India.