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…

Gender Dysphoria

Although traditionally, the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ have been used interchangeably, it is important to note that there is a significant difference between the meanings of the two. The term sex is used to describe a person’s biology. It can include gonads, sex chromosomes, sex hormones, internal reproductive organs, and external genitalia.3 Gender refers to a society’s…

The Third Gender in Native American Tribes

History of the Third Gender in Native American Culture Before Christianization mangled their culture, numerous Native American tribes accepted a third gender. The third gender (also known as “two spirits” or “llamana”) were biological males that were culturally identified as belonging to a gender that is separate from male and female.² The population of a…

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

The concepts of sex, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity are commonly confused, but there are important distinctions between these ideas that can be vital parts of a person’s identity. Sexual Identity vs. Sexual Orientation Sex Sex is a term used to describe the biological status of a person. Sex is determined by one’s anatomy,…

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…