'Call Me Heena' Explores Bangladeshi's Community of 'Hijras'

By: Rahul Kalvapalle - Sep 12, 2014
References: shahriasharmin & featureshoot
'Call Me Heena' is a fascinating photo series, captured by Bangladeshi photographer Shahria Sharmin, that explores the country's community of hijras -- people who were born with male anatomies but identify as being female internally. Hijras are considered something of a third gender in South Asia.

Hijras meet plenty of prejudice in mainstream society, and the photographer herself was taught to despise Hijras growing up. However, she began to see the beauty of the Hijra community after meeting a person called Heena while pursuing a project on garment workers.

For 'Call Me Heena', Sharmin photographed Hijras in a variety of circumstances -- some sell their body for money while others work routine working-class jobs. Some are open about their gender identity while others have left their families in the dark.

The photos are all captured in black and white, with the subjects depicted in soft and gentle tones.