Aravanis or hijras have long been the invisible yet hyper-visible subjects of a societal gaze that reduces them to stereotype. Imagined as often as looked at or talked about, simultaneously revered and cursed, they have, in the process, been refused individual histories, lives and identities, even selves. Yet the community continues to challenge and subvert this view, persistently refusing to allow itself to be shamed or victimized. Some of the greatest recent victories in this ongoing battle for rights have been won in Tamil Nadu, where the government first began to recognize many of the rights of the hijra community. The stories in this volume chronicle, in their own words, the lives of many of the aravanis who were part of this groundbreaking change. These landmark narratives-chronicles of pain and courage, of despair and triumph- are amongst the first accounts of hijra lives to be produced entirely by the members of the community themselves.