Pakistan's Chief Justice has ordered the government to recognize a third gender, so that the nation's 80,000-300,000 hijras may fully exercise their civil rights.

Hijra is a term from a different system of categories for gender and sexuality than the pseudo-medical ones used in the West over the past century. The concept partly overlaps with those Americans use for people we would variously call gay, transgendered, intersexed and cross-dressers. In moving to safeguard the rights of people who live outside the male-female dichotomies, Pakistan's legal system is now officially more open-minded about gender identity than some American states'.