In recent years, a growing group of scholars has begun to draw upon queer theory as they research aspects of LGBTQ folk performances and texts from around the globe. In the process, folklore scholars have become increasingly intrigued by bodies that appear to transgress dimorphism, and complicate binary oppositions like male/female. Performances of gender identity and sexuality by hijras in South Asia have awakened audiences’ imaginings since the Kama Sutra period (Gupta 2005:180). In folktale, dance, song, religious epic, and popular culture, the figure of the hijra often evokes a liminal play of "otherness." Commonly known as the "third gender"--a conceptual space outside of typical Western constructs--hijra individuals engage with varied notions of transsexual, transgender, intersex, cross-dresser, eunuch, or sexual fluidity. This article focuses on a feminist appropriation of the hijra within Yoni Ki Baat, a South Asian American version of The Vagina Monologues. The authors explore how the figure of the hijra--drawn from South Asian folk narratives, religious discourse, and popular culture--might be used strategically by social activists in political performance narratives to (1) encourage a complicated sense of sexually ambiguous or queer practices and identities, and (2) acknowledge individuals facing social oppression due to their marginalized identities. As such, their approach conceptualizes performance as both a relational space and as a space in which to wonder about questions of relationality (Madison and Hamera 2006; Schechner 1990).

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