Mediating hijra in/visibility: the affective economy of value-coding marginality in South Asia

Shehram Mokhtar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hijras comprise a visible yet marginalized subcultural community of gender-variant female-identifying individuals in post-colonial South Asia. Hijras have survived their marginalization through community formation and other discursive strategies. Their survival strategies include peculiar gestures such as clap of the hollow palms. The hollow clap and other discursive strategies are not only integral to hijra communitarian system and identity formation but also help them negotiate their position in the mainstream society. However, a visibility politics conflated with logics of neoliberalism and supported by infrastructures of racial capitalism seeks to repurpose hijra clap and value-code their marginality for consumption as ideas for change. This approach is exemplified in an awareness campaign titled #ChangeTheClap, launched from Pakistan by a transnational not-for-profit organization. This article foregrounds the significance of gestures, which is usually shoved into background or obscurity, and analyzes the affective campaign and critiques its visibility politics that functions to create hierarchies of value in favor of sanitized, rehabilitated, and respectable bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-972
Number of pages14
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021


  • Hijra
  • Pakistan
  • South Asia
  • trans
  • visibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


Dive into the research topics of 'Mediating hijra in/visibility: the affective economy of value-coding marginality in South Asia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this