Hijra, The Third Gender of India

Hijra are the third gender recognized predominantly in India, as well as some areas in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It is an encompassing term that includes eunuchs, intersex, and transgender people. Hijra, once seen as valued religious and spiritual healers, are now socially “untouchable” and marginalized people. Today they live in rundown areas called Gharanas.1 This group faces social, emotional, and…

History of the Third Gender in Native American Tribes

Introduction Western cultures typically ascribe to the gender binary, or the gender system that is characterized by the existence of two genders based on sex: male and female. This is assumed to be ‘natural’ as it is based on an anatomical or biological basis, which is believed to be more ‘objective.’ However, numerous Native American…

Pansexuality

What is Pansexuality? Pansexuality is a sexual orientation describing a person who is attracted to all types of people, regardless of their sex or gender.1 The term “pansexuality,” sometimes referred to as omnisexuality, has its roots in the Greek prefix pan-, meaning “all” or “every” coming together as one.2 When combined with the suffix, –sexual, describing one’s…

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Sex, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity are commonly confused terms often used inconsistently and interchangeably. However, there are important distinctions between these ideas that involve both biological and social factors. The complex interaction between them influence a person’s identity, sexual attraction, emotional attraction, and gender expression as the iconic image of the “Genderbread Person”…

Genderqueer

The word “genderqueer” is a term used to describe one whose gender identity does not necessarily fit within the male/female gender binary. Gender identity is an inner sense and experience of one’s gender, whether male-identifying, female-identifying, trans*, or non-binary.1 Though many individuals identify with the male or female labels, others reject this strict gender binary. Some identify with specific labels on the spectrum of…