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Trans, queer and “third gender” people in Muslim countries

Personnes trans, queer et « troisième genre » en pays musulmans

Journal “Anthropology of the Middle East” (AME) – Issue 20.1 (Summer 2025)

Revue « Anthropology of the Middle East » n° 20.1, 2025

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Published on Friday, February 16, 2024

Abstract

Today, despite some prohibitions, more and more trans and queer people are asserting their gender identity in Muslim societies. Over and above the importance of gender binarity and spatial separation in Muslim countries, there are many historical figures of "third gender", to use the concept introduced by the anthropologist Gilbert Herdt. In the Muslim world, the term "third gender" generally refers to the eunuch of Ottoman harems, but there are many other figures in the Islamic context, varying from countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Albania...) and times. As the vocabulary and realities are plural, depending on the country and the period, the specificities of these figures and their names will be analyzed, as well as the ways in which these groups or individuals designate themselves. This issue will examine these figures collectively as a group (hijra, trans, queer...), and their role and social status, but will also look at them as individuals.

Announcement

Argument

Today, despite some prohibitions, more and more trans and queer people are asserting their gender identity in Muslim societies. Over and above the importance of gender binarity and spatial separation in Muslim countries, there are many historical figures of "third gender", to use the concept introduced by the anthropologist Gilbert Herdt (1994). In the Muslim world, the term "third gender" generally refers to the eunuch of Ottoman harems, but there are many other figures in the Islamic context, varying from countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Albania...) and times. As the vocabulary and realities are plural, depending on the country and the period, the specificities of these figures and their names will be analyzed, as well as the ways in which these groups or individuals designate themselves.

This issue will examine these figures collectively as a group (hijra, trans, queer...), and their role and social status, but will also look at them as individuals, as some have left their mark on popular culture in their own countries, whether as actresses, singers, dancers or TV presenters. In recent decades, medical advances have made it possible to take hormones and/or undergo sex-change surgery, and the legal and religious authorities in Muslim countries have issued legal opinions on these issues. "Medico-legal paths” and discriminations of trans people in these countries will be studied.

Anthropologists are invited to contribute to this issue, but also contributors from various disciplines as historians, sociologists and jurists. Proposals could also come from literary scholars working on a corpus (novels, short stories, poetry, etc.) from Muslim countries of a certain period that feature a trans, queer or third-gender character. Researchers in visual, theatrical or film studies are also invited to analyze one of these countries' films featuring a trans, queer or third-gender character. Beside, more and more queer and trans artists are performing choreographies or video installations which questioned bodies and gender identities in these societies.

Submission guidelines

Deadline for submission of proposal (title + abstract of 10 lines) : May 30 2024

Deadline for Contributors’ Submission of Articles : September 1rst 2024

Contact : corinne.fortier@college-de-france.fr

Guest Editor

  • Corinne Fortier (CNRS-LAS)

Date(s)

  • Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Keywords

  • trans, queer, troisième genre, sociétés musulmanes, islam

Contact(s)

  • Corinne Fortier
    courriel : corinne [dot] fortier [at] college-de-france [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Corinne Fortier
    courriel : corinne [dot] fortier [at] college-de-france [dot] fr

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Trans, queer and “third gender” people in Muslim countries », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, February 16, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/vum0

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