Bisexuality and the Third Gender

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Even though this post is primarily for bisexuals, we should never lose track of the fact that we belong to a broader community, namely, the LBGQT community. Our LGBQT family is not just about sexual preference, but really includes people of a wide variety of gender expressions.  Granted we have genetic predispositions, but these predispositions are then nurtured by a variety of community and cultural norms and practices thus  providing us with a variety of gender variations. These variations ultimately are a blend of the feminine and the masculine.

The one that I find particularly fascinating is the Hijra communities of India. In the year 2014, India’s Supreme Court declared that the Hijra constituted a “legal” third gender  considered neither completely male nor female[1]. Hijras have been noted in recorded history dating back to the Kama Sutra period often associated with castration and the creation of eunuchs. Today they retain their male genitalia, but otherwise take on the female gender role.  They live together in self-sustaining communities, often with a guru. These communities are recognized as a loving and caring society which have been known to attract straight as well as trans gender people.  They  have sustained themselves over generations by “adopting” boys who are in abject poverty and rejected by their family of origin.[2] The are recognized as having special spiritual gifts and make a living by performing “blessing ceremonies” at events such as births and weddings.

The hijra do not consider themselves as male or female but as an entirely different third gender that combines both male and female psychological characteristics. They refer to themselves in gender rather than sexual terms, and in fact, many of them choose to live asexual lives. This bears similarities to us bisexuals who do not consider ourselves as gay or lesbian who restrict themselves to same sex relationships, but as bisexuals opening the door to all forms of sexual expression. But perhaps what we are seeking is at a much deeper level. Perhaps we should view ourselves not only as bisexual but as bigender.  If we dig a little deeper, perhaps what we really want (particularly the men who enjoy the feminine role, and the women who enjoy the masculine role) is the ability to express both our feminine and masculine sides without the sexual baggage that goes with it. Many bisexuals are cross dressers enjoying the feelings that come not only from wearing female apparel but all the walk and talk that goes with it, but they do not want to cross over completely. They still enjoy their masculine side with the plaid shirt and cowboy boots and the swagger.

My friends, it’s time to recognize ourselves as not only the third sexual orientation but perhaps as the third gender. And perhaps it is time to realize that we have spiritual gifts that we can offer to our gay, lesbian, and straight brothers and sisters.

[1]  Nanda, S. “Hijras: An Alternative Sex and Gender Role in India Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History. Zone Books; 1996.

 

[2] Hossain, Adnan. The paradox of recognition: hijra, third gender and sexual rights in Bangladesh. Published on line; May, 2017.

 

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